Salt Bae had restaurant staff queue outside and pose as customers, former employees say

By Jack Peat

April 27, 2023 at 10:44am


The revelations have come to light in lawsuits against the chef.

Former employees at Salt Bae’s London restaurant Nusr-Et have suggested they were made to queue outside and pose as customers in a bid to make the steakhouse look popular.

A number of lawsuits filed against the meme-famous chef, real name Nusret Gökçe, point to workplace violations and “a testosterone-saturated culture of fear”.

According to Insider, Salt Bae is facing seven lawsuits in two cities, with the publication saying they spoke to nine former employees from six of his restaurants scattered around the world who criticised him.

A former bartender at his London restaurant said the place may have looked “gold from the outside” but they were really “s**t from the inside”.

The comments chime with reviews of the 2.8-star rated joint on Google.


One person dubbed it a “MacDonald’s for rich people”, while another said they have had “better food from Five Guys”.

Others have pointed to the sky-high prices from Salt Bae, with steaks costing up to £630 and burgers up to £100.

"Like The Hunger Games"

Gökçe’s former employees have alleged there is a toxic workplace culture within the restaurants, with people being fired unpredictably.


One former bartender at his London restaurant said it was like The Hunger Games on some shifts as staff didn’t know whether they’d be fired before their shift was over.

Another employee who worked at his Mykonos restaurant compared SaltBae to a dictator, while a former host at the London restaurant says she was told by a friend in the hospitality industry not to take the job.

She said you were “ready to get fired” working there and claimed it was “very uncomfortable to be around” the man from the memes, also alleging that two months after opening day only about half the staff hired were still working there.

She claimed that one colleague was fired for accidentally breaking a glass in the presence of Gökçe, while someone else was not hired because the chef “didn’t like his shirt”.

Others allege that Gökçe would fall asleep on the tables if he was tired and workers didn’t know if they were allowed to go home until he woke up.


Header image via Instagram/nusr_et

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