Former employees at restaurants owned by Nusret Gökçe, better known as Salt Bae, have made a slew of claims against him and his conduct while they worked for him.
Then there are the allegations that staff feared they could be sacked at any time and that employees were ‘ready to get fired’ at a moment’s notice.
Employees who worked at his Mykonos and Dubai restaurants claimed he asked some members of staff for massages, while the former employee from Dubai also alleged that Gökçe would fall asleep on tables if he was tired and nobody knew if they were allowed to go home until he woke up.
Further allegations were made as employees claimed they faced discrimination, alleging that Turkish employees at the restaurants did not face the same punishments they did.
Responding to the initial reports from Insider, a lawyer representing Gökçe said that high-profile restaurants were often targeted by ‘salacious and meritless claims’.
Someone who worked at Salt Bae’s Miami restaurant said female employees were ‘not really respected’ and some of them were told to dress like they were ‘going to the club’ instead of wearing their uniforms.
Nine of Salt Bae’s former employees from six of his restaurants situated around the world spoke anonymously to Insider.
They follow previous accusations from other ex-employees alleging behaviour including tip theft.
In 2019 the celebrity chef spent $230,000 to settle a lawsuit with four of his former restaurant workers who complained that Gökçe withheld their tips and then fired the staff when they complained.
That same year a member of staff at his New York restaurant alleged that Salt Bae ‘skimmed’ three percent off of tips before they went to members of staff – that class-action suit was settled in 2020 for $300,000, with lawyers for Gökçe calling the claims ‘meritless’.
One of the people working for his Dubai restaurant told Insider that they found around $140 ‘slashed’ from their tips after accidentally delivering a bag of leftover steak to the wrong table.
Gökçe’s lawyer Christy Reuter said: “The allegations are really nothing more than a re-hash of old lawsuits where the claims were disputed and have long since been settled.
“Unfortunately, high-profile restaurants and popular chefs are often targets for salacious and meritless claims.
“Nusret is no different. Nusret employs more than a thousand employees around the world — it is a shame that a few old lawsuits and some unflattering remarks should overshadow the tremendous amount of effort that goes into maintaining a global restaurant workforce, particularly through COVID, or the contributions made by Chef Nusret in creating a mobile kitchen to provide over 6,000 hot meals to victims of the tragic earthquakes.”
WixPost has contacted Nusret Gökçe for comment.
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