INTERNET icon Salt Bae is renowned for his ultra-toned gym-god physique which he proudly flaunts on Instagram.

But newly unearthed images of a young Nusret Gökçe in a small poverty-stricken suburb east of Istanbul where he grew up paint a different picture.

The son of a miner, Nusret – one of five children – was taken out of school after primary due to financial pressures, forcing the budding chef to work from a young age.

At 13 he was taken on as a butcher’s apprentice, working long hours in Turkish steakhouses for the next decade.

A young Nusret is seen smiling in his crisp white uniform in a set of images from the butcher's shop – while other pictures shows the future-chef lovingly admiring some cuts of meat on a slab.

The pictures are in stark contrast to the ones Nusret posts on his Instagram account today.

Nowadays an oiled-up Nusret – still wearing his signature sunglasses – can be seen working out as he travels from country-to-country to delight customers in his restaurants.

In 2010, at the age of 27, Nusret opened the first Nusr-et steakhouse in the Etiler neighborhood of Istanbul with just eight tables and 10 employees.

After meeting Turkish businessman Ferit Sahenk – who was so impressed with his meal at the restaurant he offered to invest – Nusr-et opened various locations in the Middle East including Ankara, Doha and Dubai.

Nusret shot to global stardom almost overnight in January 2017 after posting a 36-second video called "Ottoman Steak" on Instagram.

The clip shows him slicing a boned steak then performing his trademark salt sprinkle – with his hand shaped “like a cobra” while rock salt bounced off his arm onto the meat.

Bruno Mars tweeted the video, which instantly went viral and gained 2.4million views overnight. It has now been viewed 17million times.

The move – and the classic white T-shirt and black jeans that would become Salt Bae’s working uniform – was born and earned him the title "sexiest butcher on Instagram".

"All of my feelings are coming from inside of the meat, down to when I put the salt onto the meat,” he once explained.

Last week, the 38-year-old’s Nusr-et chain opened its first UK restaurant in London’s Knightsbridge – bringing Nusret's total number of venues to 15.

Wealthy diners flocked to try his famed tomahawk steak, covered in 24-carat-gold.

But many balked at the extortionate prices – with the gold-coated meat costing £850, while is signature burger comes in at £100.

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