Mention the name Salt Bae and everyone will know who you are talking about. The meat connoisseur has risen to unbelievable heights of fame, with global restaurants which are almost impossible to get a reservation in unless you are a celebrity. This is all thanks to Nusret Gökçe aka Salt Bae, becoming a viral meme sensation following his post of how he sprinkles salt onto his steak.
The unusual salting technique plus the amount of salt used each time caused a real stir among social media users and whilst some saw him as a showman, others mocked his credibility as a chef. Seeing as Salt Bae has worked incredibly hard, honing his butchering craft for many years, the latter is quite the insult and an unfortunate side effect of his internet fame. But he needn’t fear, as research suggests his technique has merit.
Attend any cooking class or watch any videos from world class chefs and seasoning is the one lesson that never fails to appear. Seasoning can make or break a dish, particularly when it comes to salt as it helps bring out the flavours of meats and vegetables and stop them tasting flat. Of course, in today’s health conscious society we are told to be wary of our salt intake but chef and author Samin Nosrat explains we shouldn’t be as concerned about this as nutritionists say. She states:
Unless you’ve been specifically told by your doctor to limit your salt consumption, you can relax about your sodium intake. Anything you cook for yourself at home is more nutritious, and lower in sodium, than processed, prepared, or restaurant food…use salt better. Add it in the right amount, at the right time, in the right form.
As for the slightly bizarre elbow grazing salting Salt Bae uses, this too has a point behind it. Watch carefully when chefs are in action and they often season from a great height getting salt pretty much everywhere (clean freaks should look away). This is so the salt is dispersed evenly over the food and there are no clumps found anywhere. Nosrat also touches on this in her cookbook ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’, describing the technique as a ‘wrist wag’.
Salt Bae might look comical when he salts, but he seems to know what he is doing to ensure the flavour of the meat is exaggerated with an evenly dispersed amount of salt provided. If he looks like an outrageous legend whilst doing it, then that’s just an added bonus.