Salt Bae apparently has FIFA feeling salty.
After Argentina defeated France in Sunday’s World Cup Final in Qatar, Salt Bae — the Turkish chef turned 2017 internet meme — was seen on the Lusail Stadium pitch amid La Albiceleste’s championship celebration. The celebrity chef took photos with players from Argentina, and he even got his hands on the prestigious World Cup trophy several times.
But it turns out Salt Bae didn’t actually have permission to be on the field.
FIFA announced on Thursday that it’s investigating how Salt Bae and others gained “undue access” to the field and trophy. The World Cup trophy is described by FIFA as a “priceless icon” that “can only be touched and held by a very select group of people, which includes former winners of the FIFA World Cup and heads of state.”
“Following a review, FIFA has been establishing how individuals gained undue access to the pitch after the closing ceremony at Lusail Stadium on Dec. 18,” FIFA said. “The appropriate internal action will be taken.”
At one point during Argentina’s celebration, Salt Bae was involved in a viral moment with Lionel Messi. Salt Bae tried to get the legendary soccer player’s attention multiple times, including by grabbing his arm, but Messi seemed uninterested in an interaction.
The two eventually did take a photo together that was posted on Instagram by Salt Bae.
Salt Bae was a regular guest of FIFA with VIP access during the World Cup, according to The Associated Press. One of the many restaurants he owns is located in Qatar’s capital city of Doha.
What is Salt Bae’s real name?
Salt Bae’s actual name is Nusret Gökçe. He’s 39 years old.
How many restaurants does Salt Bae have?
Salt Bae owns 22 steakhouses around the world called “Nusr-Et.” There are seven of them in the United States (Boston, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and two in New York), in addition to locations in England, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Nusr-Et’s website shows celebrities like Mark Wahlberg and David Beckham are among those who have stopped in for a bite.
How much is a Salt Bae steak?
With customers like Wahlberg and Beckham, it’s no surprise that Nusr-Et’s menu is on the pricier end.
A menu on OpenTable from one of Nusr-Et’s New York locations lists an ottoman steak for $190 and a tomahawk steak for $275. There’s even a 24-karat-gold-wrapped tomahawk steak that costs $1,100.