Welcome to episode 3 of the Spinoff Auckland serial The Bakers’ Tale, Brian Ng’s story of a couple of guys and a pastry-making business. Today: Getting personal with Ben.
Good news everyone! Ben Chevre (the tall one) is single! As he puts it (read this, and anything else I quote him saying, in your best French accent), “I just want true love.”
As you may recall from the first instalment of The Bakers’ Tale, I met Ben back at Clooney, when he was a player/man slut — those are Matthieu Betron’s and my characterisations; Ben was very adamant that this did not apply to him because he was young and single so it was “going out and having fun”. Goodness knows what’s it’s called if you’re not young and single.
Tinder has kind of dropped off as the app du jour, but back then it was still hip for those in Ben’s age bracket (he’s 31). His Instagram (with the very inventive handle @chevre_benjamin) was full of pastry and Clooney pictures — this has stopped since he started Little French Pastry — leading to potential Tinderellas asking him if he worked at Clooney, or if he just really, really liked the place.
Sadly for you potential suitresses, he’s not back on Tinder. When I asked him about its existence, he sassed back with, “Isn’t Bumble the new thing?” He didn’t know how Bumble worked until I told him it’s basically Tinder, except the girl messages first. (For those of you wanting to know: no, he doesn’t have a Bumble either. Sorry.)
He declined to give me an indication of how successful he was on Tinder, feigning modesty and humility, and diverted the question to the efficacy of the app: “Tinder is not about what you do, it’s how you look and who you are. Who you are in the picture. Who you are on social media.”
So who is he on social media then? “I try to be charming. Try to give the best of you — what you think is the best of you: the best smile, or the best picture with your mates where you look happy and are having fun. You have to give something to the people so they want to meet you, because you attract them in a certain way. And not look like a psychopath [he pronounces it sickopath]. Because no one likes sickopaths.”
It’s a different time for him now that he’s settling down. No more picking up girls at a bar. Or, as Ben wanted me to say instead, “Luckily I met someone.” Each time he went out, he meant. “I didn’t even go out much.”
Matthieu heard that and shook his head. “Only three times a week.”
Ben is completely sincere about finding The One, though. When he was 18, he was on his first holiday with all his friends. And he left them to follow a girl. He followed her to L’Île de Beauté (Corsica), and took “the slowest train” to catch up to her. She was travelling with her parents, but “we created the strongest relationship ever”. They fell in love, but as it was a holiday, it had to end.
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“We had to wait eight years before we could be together again.”
Meanwhile, Little French Pastry prepares for an outing at General Collective, the big lifestyle and design market at ASB Showgrounds next weekend (August 12-13). They’ll be selling their mille-feuille and other pastries alongside a host of Auckland’s leading street food vendors.
The Spinoff Auckland is sponsored by Heart of the City, the business association dedicated to the growth of downtown Auckland as a vibrant centre for entertainment, retail, hospitality and business.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.