In the classic sitcom 30 Rock, comedian Tracy Jordan says “I don’t get why people like brunch. What’s the benefit of combining breakdancing and lunch?”. 

Two perfectly harmless words can create something terrible when combined. ‘Lad’ and ‘Baby’ being a timely example. 

The word ‘Bae’ emerged in the noughties as a term of endearment for a significant other. Combine it with ‘Salt’, however, and you get something truly obscene. 

What do you get?

‘Salt Bae’ is the name by which Turkish cook Nusret Gökçe is widely known, and a name which football fans around the world have been saying with disgust since Sunday. 

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What’s he known for?

Salt Bae became an internet meme in 2017, thanks to viral videos of him flamboyantly sprinkling salt on meat. 

With a reported net worth of over £61 million, he owns the luxury steakhouse chain Nusr-Et and has served the likes of Diego Maradona, Rihanna and Leonardo DiCaprio.

I’m guessing the food is overpriced and underwhelming. 

If you’re as stupid as you are rich, you can pay £1,450 for a steak wrapped in gold leaf. In September 2021, a £1,812 receipt from his Knightsbridge restaurant was posted online, which included a £630 tomahawk steak and £236.40 service charge. 

The following month, they were accused of deleting negative reviews on TripAdvisor after being rated the 17,426th best restaurant out of 17,495 in London.

I’m not sold on this guy. 

With his ever-present shades, constant arm around celebrities, classic 'crooked ‘80s major record label boss' ponytail and focus on gaudy spectacle rather than substance, the man is a monument to tackiness.

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Why is he in the news?

Lionel Messi has been tipped for the top since an early age, and was one of the world’s best before he’d entered his twenties. On Sunday night, he crowned the greatest football career of all time with the ultimate trophy, scoring twice as Argentina beat France in the World Cup Final.

It was the 35-year-old’s fifth attempt at winning the tournament, and in all those years of picturing the moment it’s doubtful that he envisaged sharing it with the man responsible for London’s 17,426th best restaurant.

What happened?

As Argentina celebrated with the trophy for the first time in 36 years, Salt Bae was inexplicably allowed access to the pitch. Wearing a FIFA VIP badge round his neck, he tried to muscle in for a photo opportunity with a notably unimpressed Messi, before hogging the trophy while defender Christian Romero’s child tried to touch it.

The 39-year-old was also seen pretending to sprinkle salt on it, because nothing is sacred anymore.

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How did he even get on the pitch?

There has as yet been no official confirmation, but during the tournament FIFA president Gianni Infantino visited Salt Bea’s Qatar restaurant and said: “Football unites the world and Nusret unites the world as well.”

He has a point, just not in the way he thinks.