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.

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.