MIAMI (WSVN) - Protesters are speaking out against a celebrity chef with a Miami restaurant after he was caught on camera serving Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.
The chef, known as “Salt Bae” has caused a furor after video shows the chef, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, serving Maduro at his restaurant in Istanbul.
Maduro was criticized for the video due to his enjoying expensive steaks while many Venezuelans continue to go hungry.
Gökçe was criticized for serving Maduro, even giving him hugs and T-shirts with his face on it.
“It’s disgusting for the residents of the City of Miami, they’ve expressed their outrage, and I’m a channel for that,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
“This person just treated a dictator like he was a king,” protester Carmelo Estanco said outside Nusr-Et Steakhouse at 999 Brickell Avenue.
Many of the protesters carried signs, Wednesday, one which read in Spanish, “To serve a tyrant is to make fun of an oppressed place.”
“This gentleman is in the most expensive restaurant in the world, while all his citizens are digging through garbage right now, trying to scramble for food,” said one protester.
“I hope his business closes, and he never shows his face again here, ever,” protester Ana Trejos said.
“We cannot come to eat at this restaurant if we know that at the same time we’re sitting there, children, women, elderly people in Venezuela are starving to death,” activist Ramon Saul Sanchez said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted, calling Gökçe a “weirdo,” while Miami-Dade commission Chairman Esteban Bovo referred to him as a “fool” serving a “two-bit dictator.”
“Things like this are gonna happen, but then you’re gonna hear the Venezuelan community loud and clear, then you don’t do it again,” protester Sabina Contreras said, “so don’t mess with us.”
However, the video has not infuriated everyone. Some feel that Gökçe did nothing wrong by serving Maduro.
“As a chef, he needs to take whichever client comes his way,” said Jose Mangas, who is not angered by the video. “I don’t think that reflects on the restaurant itself.”
However, Maduro made light of the video in a news conference.
“Venezuela has many friends in the world,” Maduro said in Spanish. “People who are extremely famous. I didn’t know Nusret. I met him at the restaurant, we gave each other like 100 hugs.”
Gökçe has yet to respond to the backlash he’s been receiving.
The protest went on until 1:30 p.m.
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