Over the weekend, this video of Istanbul-based restauranteur and chef Nusret Gökçe stripping and slicing what he terms an “Ottoman Steak” into fine pieces went viral. It’s a quietly sensuous video, if I’m being frank. There’s been particular fixation on its last few salt-finessing seconds, in which Gökçe sprinkles salt down his elbow, making a farce out of the way the rest of us laypersons prep our steaks.
The video was all over the public square known as my Twitter feed this weekend. Between five-minute breaks, I’d open Twitter at different points of the day over Saturday or Sunday. Without fail, this video or a screengrab from it would be one of the most recent tweets.
There seemed to be some gentle disagreement over what was more erotic about the video, though: the man or the meat itself? Some may argue it’s the confluence of the two elements that gives this 36-second long video its charge, which, yes, I understand. But that’s not what we’re here for today.
I’m bracing myself for a flood of content that focuses on the element of his appearance, staring, mouth agape, at this man’s large arms and Gaston-like bun. It’s already begun. Serial offender Daily Mail has focused on Gökçe's becoming looks. “After Twitter users found his Instagram, it appears Gökçe is a traditional family man,” a writer from Elite Dailyscribed. “No one seems to be surprised he has nine children, as he seems to be extremely charming.” Ah, yes, that’s right—a man’s charm, as dictated by his Instagram presence, often correlates to the size of his progeny.
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I don’t really care about this dude’s apparent hunkiness. Honestly, I’m more concerned with the subtle eroticism of the meat. Look at it. Sitting on a slab of wood, red and ready. Sprinkled with a dust of magic. It’s pretty over there. Gökçe may be married with nine kids, but the meat, I hear, is single.
Did you see this video making the rounds? Do you find it as carnal as everyone else? Let us know in the comments.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.