Claude Bosi joined Terence Conran’s revamped Bibendum on the Fulham Road in London in 2017, swiftly winning two Michelin stars for his contemporary French cuisine. Here, the chef reveals his favourite restaurants, and why in another life he might have been a carpenter. Having worked at Alain Passard’s L’Arpège and Alain Ducasse in Paris, Bosi moved to England in 1997 and set up Hibiscus in 2000 in the Shropshire market town of Ludlow. He relocated his restaurant to London’s Mayfair in 2008 after Hibiscus gained two Michelin stars. Moving beyond the world of fine dining, in 2011, he opened The Fox & Grapes, a gastropub in Wimbledon, with his brother Cedric. Hibiscus, which was known for its championing of natural and organic wines through the guidance of Isabelle Legeron MW, closed its doors in October 2016 after 16 years in business. In April 2017, Bosi joined Terence Conran’s Bibendum following a revamp of the popular restaurant, which saw it retain its oyster bar on the ground floor alongside a more casual restaurant downstairs and a more fine dining proposition upstairs. After less than a year, the newly revamped concept won two Michelin stars in October in recognition of Bosi’s classic French cooking with a contemporary twist. Here, the chef reveals his favourite restaurants, and why in another life he might have been a carpenter.
What/who influenced your decision to become a chef?
My parents. They ran a small bistro in my home town Lyon. I saw the hard work it takes, and somehow that didn’t deter me.
Can you remember/describe your first shift in a kitchen?
Yes, I was on salad – it was a big responsibility at the time.
What is your earliest wine memory?
I just remember the first time I went to Gravner in Slovenia. That was a revelation.
What has been your most memorable meal?
I would say the first time I went to a Michelin star restaurant in Lyon call Pierre Orsi. I didn’t really understand it but I loved it.
How important is wine to a meal, from a chef’s point of view?
It’s essential, its what we call l’art de la table.
What would be your ultimate food and wine pairing?
I discovered not long ago a middle aged Chateaux Yquem with roasted chicken and truffles. I thought that was very special.
Who is your inspiration in the winemaking and gastronomic world and why?
For wine there are just so many that I admire. Food wise I would say, Alain Ducasse for doing fantastic restaurants anywhere, and also Alain Passard for his creativity.
Biggest kitchen disaster?
I can’t give you just one. There have been too many!
If you could give your younger self advice starting out as a chef, what would it be
Be ready to work hard, really hard!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing
A carpenter. I love the idea of starting with raw produce and doing something amazing with it, a bit like cooking.
Besides cooking, which talent would you most like to have?
Maybe DIY that would make my wife very happy. I am useless.
What would be your best piece of culinary advice for an aspiring home cook?
Keep it simple.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
At the moment its l’Ambroisie in Paris.
What else would you like to achieve in life?
A good balance with work and home – that can be tricky.
And finally, what is your life motto
Work hard, and believe in what you are doing.