In a New York Times profile published on Friday, Gökçe reveals a few choice details about his personal life. The story, which is part of the Times‘ regular column on what New Yorkers do with their Sundays, also featured several photos of Salt Bae doing things like smoking a cigar and hitting the gym—all while wearing his signature round sunglasses.
Gökçe, of course, became a meme after a photograph emerged of the Turkish restaurateur sprinkling salt on a piece of meat. His recently opened New York City restaurant, Nusr-et Steakhouse, is attracting a lot of attention from celebrity diners and the media.
Here are the highlights from the Times piece:
Salt Bae has 13 children
Yes, 13. Gökçe is a 35-year-old “bachelor” with 13 children. The Times doesn’t specify where these children are currently located or how often he visits him. They are only mentioned once, in parentheses. However, Gökçe has posted photographs on his Instagram account with some (of presumably his) children.
Salt Bae rides a ‘hoverboard’ to work from the Plaza Hotel
Gökçe commutes to his NYC restaurant from the Plaza Hotel with a self-balancing board. (Which some people still claim is a “hoverboard.”) Unfortunately, the Times did not take a photo.
Salt Bae chooses not to get tired
When the Times asked him if he is exhausted after leaving work at 2a.m. and waking up at 7a.m., Gökçe gave an answer that sounded like something out of a Silicon Valley tech conference.
“Being tired isn’t anything,” he said. “What’s important is the mind. The body being tired isn’t important …What’s important is whether the mind is tired.”
Gökçe also said that he does a “mental evaluation of the day” before going to sleep.
Salt Bae sees his signature move as ‘art’
Sprinkling salt on meat is a form of art, Gökçe said. “I view my job as an art because I make art out of meat and the move is like a final touch on this art.”
Salt Bae loves his fans—and himself
“I love myself,” he told the Times. He also said that Americans, particularly New Yorkers, also love him. That’s a lot of love going around.
Overall, Gökçe comes off more like a performance artist than a culinary genius. But that’s probably what we should expect from people who find professional success from a meme.