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Salt Bae Might Be in Violation of Health Codes

Are the viral chef’s methods kosher with city regulations?

A man in dark sunglasses in a signature salt-sprinkling post stands over a cutting board with sliced steak.
Salt Bae
Photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

Critics have been slicing into Salt Bae’s new New York restaurant with overwhelmingly negative reviews, and the one supposed saving grace of Nusr-Et are the theatrics of its Turkish owner and social media sensation Nusret Gökçe. But a closer look at said theatrics reveals that Salt Bae’s steak performance art might be in violation of more than one New York health code.

Ordering a steak at Nusr-Et for now comes with the experience of Salt Bae himself slicing and salting your meat tableside with great fanfare. One small detail is glaringly obvious about this production, though: He isn’t wearing gloves.

According to article 81 of New York City’s health code, bare hand contact with food that is “ready to eat” is prohibited. Unless Salt Bae is throwing those steaks back onto a burner after cutting them up, he’s in clear violation of article 81. And it should be noted that Salt Bae’s fingers are not merely grazing the meats he cuts; he’s all up in there — not that the health code makes distinctions between light touching and heavy petting of meats.

Salt Bae’s signature look might be another violation. The tight white t-shirt and indoor sunglasses are technically chill with the Department of Health, but the gold watch perpetually on his wrist might be cause for concern. An additional clause in article 81 reads: “Except for medical alert bracelets or a ring that is smooth and without crevices, such as a wedding band, food workers may not wear jewelry on their arms or hands.” Maybe Salt Bae should think about ditching the watch and donning some gloves. It might ruin his aesthetic, but it will at least keep the health department happy.

Here’s a look at Salt Bae’s potentially illicit tableside theatrics:

A post shared by greyfishnyc (@greyfishnyc) on

A post shared by Nusret Saltbae (@nusr_et34) on

A post shared by #NYCdines™️ (@nycdine) on

In a statement, a spokeswoman from the Department of Health writes: “We will be looking into this matter.” Representatives from the restaurant did not immediately respond to request for comment.

If the restaurant’s whole schtick is indeed in violation of the health code, no one seems to be hiding it — pretty much the whole point of going to Nusr-Et is to film and post the experience.


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