VENEZUELAN President Nicolás Maduro feasted on pricey steaks prepared by star chef “Salt Bae” — sparking outrage Tuesday in the hunger-stricken South American nation.
A now-viral video posted Monday shows Maduro chowing down on hunks of red meat — flamboyantly sliced and sprinkled with salt by the Instagram-famous chef — at the upscale Nusr-Et steakhouse in Istanbul, Turkey, where cuts of steak go for hundreds of dollars a pop.
Another clip shows him casually puffing on a cigar at the restaurant, alongside first lady Cilia Flore.
But critics in Venezuela — where food shortages have caused tens of thousands of people to go hungry — are smoking mad over their leader’s flashy feast.
“While Venezuelans suffer and die of hunger, Nicolás Maduro and Cilia are enjoying themselves at one of the most expensive restaurants in the world,” fumed Julio Borges, the exiled former president of the country’s national assembly, according to The Guardian.
US Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and longtime critic of Maduro, bashed the out-of-touch move.
“I don’t know who this weirdo #Saltbae is, but the guy he is so proud to host is not the President of Venezuela,” Rubio wrote. “He is actually the overweight dictator of a nation where 30% of the people eat only once a day & infants are suffering from malnutrition.”
Maduro had stopped in Turkey on the way home from China, where he met with officials in an effort to boost the country’s economy, according to The Guardian. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” he can be heard saying to other diners.
The star chef — who recently opened one of his steak joints in Manhattan — posted video of the political leader on Instagram, where he has 16 million followers, and later deleted it.
In Venezuela, an economic crisis has created widespread food shortages, with many people living on just $US1 a day.
Roughly nine in 10 households live in poverty in the country, according to a 2017 study.
Earlier this year, Salt Bae, whose real name is Nusret Gökçe, opened a steak joint in Midtown — and landed in hot water with the Health Department for handling meat with his bare hands.
Originally published as ‘Salt Bae’ steak enrages nation