Interview and photograph by Florence Noble.
The sizzling aroma of sausages is an olfactory clarion call to Kiwis. Maybe that’s why Sébastien Barré’s stall at Britomart’s Saturday market is so popular.
Are you from Auckland?
I was born in Paris, but lived for 15 years in Strasbourg, the capital of Europe.
What do you make here?
I’m making our own French sausages, 100 percent natural.
What are the ingredients?
Meat, spices, and a strong French accent.
What’s the most popular?
I think what’s most popular is the Hot Dog of the Month because we change the recipe and it’s new and people like to try something different. The Toulouse is also very famous.
What’s your favourite?
I think my favourite is the chipolata because it’s simple. It’s just pork and French spices – imported from France.
How did you get into doing this?
I was a firefighter in France for 20 years. My wife and I were working so hard that we wanted a break. And we stopped working to travel with the kids, they are 7 and 9. We were traveling around Asia, and we stopped two or three times in Auckland and liked it.
My wife worked in town and I was taking care of my kids and I had time so my friends and family asked me to make French sausages for them and then they told me I should make them for everyone.
How did you learn to make them?
I started cooking when I was very young. It’s part of my culture, because my parents taught me very young how to cook at home, and to make very different things. And I’m doing the same with my kids. My daughter is 7 years old and she is cooking every day with me.
Do you think local markets are the future?
If people want to get healthy food or different products from local people, there’s a future in it if people want it. In Europe you can find many local fresh markets and it’s growing here in New Zealand so there could be a future here.
Where is your favourite Auckland city restaurant?
Cave a Vin in Milford. They make organic and natural wine, which is quite difficult to find in Auckland. Last time I had the pork cheeks. It was amazing.
Do you have any hobbies?
Free diving. I like to be alone in the sea and swimming.
How long can you hold your breath for?
Whoa. That’s a long time. Is it dangerous?
Well, you don’t start like that. You learn build on it gradually, and in a pool to start with.
Do you have any free diving stories?
Sometimes I go spearfishing. I missed a kingfish twice. I was also swimming with my friend recently and he was so sick he vomited, and all the fish came around us to eat it. So many fish… it was beautiful. He was so sick.