Viral Chef Salt Bae Is Being Sued by Servers at His Miami Restaurant

From meme to defendant

Salt Bae Sued
Memes, Where Are They Now? Well, Salt Bae's in court.
Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images
By Kayla Kibbe / August 28, 2019 12:18 pm

The lifespan of a meme is notoriously short. But even after hot girl summers give way to 30-50 feral hogs, which, in their turn, then had to surrender to the fish tube, the real people behind our favorite flash-in-the-pan memes live on. We don’t usually hear much about post-meme life, and when we do, it’s usually bad news.

Which brings us to Salt Bae, a name you may remember from an early 2017 meme storm stemming from a series of videos in which a chef flamboyantly seasons steak with salt. As it turns out, Salt Bae is a real person international restaurateur Nusret Gökçe — and he also happens to be a defendant in a collective action lawsuit.

Earlier this year, Gökçe was sued by a server at at his Miami restaurant, Nusr-et Steakhouse, who claimed the restaurant illegally split her tips with other employees. Now a judge has ordered that other servers at the restaurant can join her suit, the Miami Herald reported. According to the outlet, seven more servers at the restaurant have signed on since U.S. Chief District Judge K. Michael Moore officially elevated the case to “collective action” status.

Melissa Compere, the first waitress to file a claim, has accused the restaurant of lumping servers’ tips into a pool of money that is divided among all employees, including those whose positions are not dependent on tips. Attorneys for Compere and the rest of the seven other servers who have opted in reportedly said there could be as many as 200 workers who are eligible to join the complaint.

Meanwhile, Gökçe is already facing a similar charge filed by an employee at his New York restaurant just three days before the Miami suit was filed.

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