THINKING MONEY

Ruto: What I learnt from 'Salt Bae'

DP asks Kenyan businesspeople to think outside Kenyan territories, saying international arena presented opportunities

In Summary

• Deputy President William Ruto wants micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya to broaden their ambitions beyond the confines of the country’s borders. 

• He said the international arena presented opportunities as well as challenges that would sharpen the business skills of local players, especially the youth. 

Deputy President William Ruto with Nusret Gökçe, nicknamed Salt Bae, a Turkish butcher, chef and restaurateur, who operates Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses in Dubai.
Deputy President William Ruto with Nusret Gökçe, nicknamed Salt Bae, a Turkish butcher, chef and restaurateur, who operates Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses in Dubai.
Image: COURTESY

Deputy President William Ruto wants micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Kenya to broaden their ambitions beyond the confines of the country’s borders. 

He said the international arena presented opportunities as well as challenges that would sharpen the business skills of local players, especially the youth. 

Ruto said this on Saturday in Dubai via his social media platforms while interacting with Nusret Gökçe, nicknamed Salt Bae, a Turkish butcher, chef and restaurateur, who operates Nusr-Et, a chain of steak houses.  

 
 

“Hustler Salt Bae has created a successful hustle out of salt, nyama and a knife,” said Ruto as he challenged entrepreneurs in Kenyatta, Burma, Dagoretti Markets and others to up their game in the meat business.

The Deputy President, whose political drive is aimed at empowering the so-called hustlers, said there was neither small nor big work. “Kazi ni kazi, wìra ni wìra, mboka ni mboka,” he added.

According to various sources, Gökçe was born from a humble background in Turkey where his father was a mineworker.  

The shaky finances would not allow him to go beyond the sixth grade in school, forcing him to work as a butcher's apprentice in the Kadıköy in Istanbul. “This formed the basis of my business,” Gökçe said in an interview.

“Your background notwithstanding, you have the power to rise from your poor background and make it in life.”

Between 2007 and 2010, Gökçe visited Argentina and the United States where he further honed his business skills and experience by working in local restaurants without pay. 

Upon his return in 2010, he set up his first restaurant in Istanbul and four years later a second one in Dubai. 

 
 

His star rose further in 2017 when a series of viral Internet videos and memes showing him suavely cutting meat and sprinkling salt went viral around the world.

“My hard work, determination and positive energy has made my business attract a wide range of celebrities and politicians from around the world,” he noted.

As a result, he says, he is involved with various charitable works such as the building of school in his hometown of Erzurum.