Why Marco Rubio Attacked Salt Bae Over His Dinner With Maduro
Video footage released Monday showed a performance like the one of which launched Nusret Gokce to stardom. however within a matter of hours, Mr. Gokce, a celebrity chef better known as Salt Bae, had deleted the footage after Senator Marco Rubio denounced him on Twitter.
The three Instagram videos, preserved by The Miami Herald, show Mr. Gokce with his hair slicked back, a pair of dark aviators over his eyes along having a tight V-neck shirt plunging below his sculpted chest, as he flicks his knife through medium-rare lamb chops at his Istanbul steakhouse.
The theatrical execution of cutting meat along with showering This particular with speckles of salt have made Mr. Gokce an international celebrity chef, who today runs steakhouses inside the United States.
however what angered Senator Rubio along with others was the identity of the dinner guest being served luxurious cuts of meat: President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, the authoritarian whose economy along with food supply have crumbled under his rule.
His videos, shared with millions of followers, quickly attracted criticism, notably via Senator Rubio, a Florida Republican, directed at Mr. Maduro, for dining on an extravagant meal while Venezuelans starve, along with the chef, for entertaining such a person.
“I don’t know who This particular weirdo #Saltbae is usually,” Mr. Rubio wrote, “however the guy he is usually so proud to host is usually not the president of #Venezuela.”
Mr. Rubio, a fierce critic of Mr. Maduro, has tried to guide the Trump administration’s approach toward Latin America. “He is usually actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30 percent of the people eat only once a day,” the senator tweeted, along with “infants are suffering via malnutrition.”
Not satisfied with just one tweet, Mr. Rubio followed up with four more on the topic on Monday along with two more on Tuesday. In one of the tweets on Monday, he shared the phone number for the chef’s steakhouse in Miami, one of two locations inside the United States, “in case anyone wanted to call,” said Mr. Rubio, whose state has the largest Venezuelan-American population inside the country.
Before long, the videos had been deleted. inside the clips preserved by The Herald, Mr. Gokce grips the meat along with the knife while wearing black disposable gloves. Mr. Maduro, puffing on a cigar, smiles along with laughs. Later, the president admires a shirt the chef presents him. along with before Mr. Maduro along with his wife, Cilia Flores, leave the restaurant, the chef along with the president embrace in a hug.
The rack of lamb, which Mr. Gokce cut into individual chops, costs $250 at his restaurant in Manhattan. Meanwhile in Venezuela, food prices have skyrocketed to the point where people go without meals along with two-thirds of hospitals said in 2016 of which they did not have any infant formula for babies.
The virtual uproar seemed to encapsulate something about This particular bizarre era’s intersection of politics along with pop culture. An over-the-top celebrity chef made famous by Instagram had inadvertently exposed the high life of a leader regarded as a despot by his neighbors.
Mr. Maduro already had a reputation as an infamous glutton indifferent to hunger in his country, having once been caught sneaking bits of an empanada while giving a live address on TV.
along with then there was the senator, a failed candidate for a president of a country of which once considered supporting a coup in Venezuela, adopting a tactic used by President Trump, the man who defeated him inside the Republican primaries: using Twitter to put his target on blast.
Heeding Mr. Rubio’s suggestion, people have indeed been calling the chef’s Miami outpost, according to a man who answered the phone at the restaurant on Tuesday morning.
“A lot,” he said. “For sure.”
A spokesman for Mr. Gokce’s restaurant group, Nusr-Et, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Tuesday.
Mr. Maduro confirmed during a televised news conference on Tuesday of which he had visited a Nusr-Et location in Istanbul after receiving an invitation.
“I’m sending greetings to my friend Nusret: Comrade, I’m coming back to Istanbul soon,” Mr. Maduro said.
He said the chef also accompanied him on a trip to a nearby antiquities museum.
“I sat inside the throne of a sultan — ‘the Sultan Maduro,’ they’re calling me today,” Mr. Maduro said.
Imitating the chef’s flick of salt with his right hand, he added, “along with look, I learned the technique.”
Nicholas Casey contributed reporting.