Jan 26, 2017 10:30 AM EST

Social Media Star ‘Salt Bae’ Is Opening Steak Restaurants In London And New York

Earlier this month, Turkish chef Nusret Gökçet became the first meme of 2017. A photo of him elegantly sprinkling salt on a piece of meat sparked the meme, and Gökçet became known as “Salt Bae.” Following his rise to fame, it was reported that the chef is about to open restaurants in London and New York.

Buzzfeed previously reported that an Instagram video of Gökçet showing off his knife skills circulated the Internet, and people were in awe with how sensuously he sprinkles salt on the meat. The video has gotten over 8.5 million views since it was posted on Jan. 7.

The chef, who co-owns a global chain of steakhouses called Nusr-et, has become famous all over the world as his famous salt-sprinkling pose has appeared everywhere—even on a t-shirt worn by pop star Rihanna.

Speaking with Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, Gökçet said that he plans to open restaurants in London and New York. Of his signature salt-sprinkling technique, the chef said that the move came naturally to him.

“I did not do that to show off,” said Gökçet. “It is just my signature. You can think of it a kind of final touch for a painting. It was a final touch to the meat; I was blessing the meat.”

As Gökçet is gearing up to open new steak houses and unleash his viral meat-salting moves on two of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, the chef said that he plans to “communicate with people through meat” as he doesn’t know foreign languages. Gökçet added that though he came from an impoverished background, success was possible by “telling stories and drawing people’s attention.”

The chef revealed that he started working at a butcher’s shop as an apprentice when he was only 14 years old. He also said that his viral videos and photos were not created by a PR team and that they were taken by waiters working at his restaurants.

Since his Insta-fame, “Salt Bae” has been immortalized in apparel, fan art, a mural in Australia, and a portrait made of real salt. Gökçet took to Instagram to thank fans all over the world for their love and even encouraged them to get in touch with him through his email account.

“Thank you for your support everyone,” he wrote. “This is my email nusretgokce34@gmail.com.tr #salt.”

For more, check out Jobs & Hire’s report on the two retirees who created a lucrative marijuana packaging business in Denver.

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