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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Claude Bosi, Hibiscus, Fox & Grapes

Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Claude Bosi, Hibiscus, Fox & Grapes

Overall ranking: 71 (ranked 75 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 22 (ranked 22 in 2010)

Claude Bosi – Snapshot

Claude Bosi is the chef-patron of Hibiscus in London’s Mayfair, which currently holds two Michelin stars and four AA rosettes, and the Fox & Grapes pub in Wimbledon.

Claude Bosi – Career guide

Bosi, who turns 39 this year, was born into a family of restaurateurs in Lyon. He served his apprenticeship at the two-Michelin-starred Leon de Lyon before going on to work in some of France’s top two- and three-Michelin-starred restaurants, including La Pyramide Fernand Point in Lyon with Patrick Henriroux, and Restaurant Chiberta in Paris with Philippe Dasilva. However, he was most influenced by his stints in two of Paris’s three-starred establishments, L’Arpège under Alain Passard, where he helped the restaurant gain its third star, and Restaurant Alain Ducasse, where he worked for a year.

In 1998 Bosi moved to the UK and took on the job of sous chef at Overton Grange on the outskirts of Ludlow in Shropshire, before being asked to take over as head chef. By the end of the year the site had won its third AA rosette and the following January it picked up a Michelin star, with Bosi aged just 24.

In March 2000 Bosi and his now estranged wife, Claire, who had worked for three years at Shaun Hill’s Merchant House restaurant in Ludlow, opened Hibiscus on the site of the former three-AA-rosette Oaks restaurant in the town. The restaurant won its first Michelin star nine months later, and its second in 2004. The pair put the restaurant on the market in 2006 with the intention of relocating to London, a move they completed in 2007. Although the restaurant dropped down to one star in the next Michelin guide, it regained its second star in 2009.

In 2006 Bosi opened the Bell Inn in Yarpole, Herefordshire, with his brother Cedric. Despite gaining a Bib Gourmand, the pair sold the pub in early 2010. However, they were swift to follow it up, and opened the Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon, London, in April 2011, serving classic British pub food.

Claude Bosi – What we think

Bosi is a chef that other chefs like to keep an eye on, with a direct and balanced style that is viewed as exciting and ground-breaking. His cooking combines classical French skills with modern trends, in an evolutionary rather than revolutionary way, and he is able to make something special out of the most ordinary ingredients.

Although he initially dropped a star when Hibiscus moved, his ability to swiftly regain it shows the underlying talent and standards in his kitchen.

His inventive cuisine inspires not only diners, but also young chefs, with the likes of Glynn Purnell having credited the Frenchman for the influence Bosi exerted on his cooking in the eight months he spent as a sous chef at Hibiscus.

Yet to turn 40, his best years in the kitchen are surely to come, while his willingness to expand – opening the Fox & Grapes in early 2011 – shows Bosi is cutting his teeth as a businessman as well. While he has yet to win a Catey, the respect held for him among his peers saw him short-listed for the 2010 Independent Restaurateur award, alongside his former wife and Hibiscus manager Claire, as well as the 2008 Chef award.

Claude Bosi’s ranking in the 2010 100 >>

Just Opened: the Fox and Grapes, London >>

Hibiscus from Ludlow to London >>

Hibiscus website >>

Fox & Grapes website >>

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