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

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Claude Bosi, Hibiscus, the Fox & Grapes

Overall ranking: 67 (ranked 71 in 2011)
Chef ranking: 18 (ranked 22 in 2011)

Claude Bosi is the chef-patron of Relais & Chateaux restaurant Hibiscus - in London's Mayfair, which currently holds two Michelin stars and five AA rosettes, and pubs the Fox & Grapes in Wimbledon and the Malt House in Fulham, which is due to open in early 2013.

Claude Bosi - Career guide

Bosi, who turned 40 in 2012, 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 former 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 two star status 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 which won the Menu of the Year Catey in 2011. In September 2012 it was also announced that Bosi's company Jolly Fine Restaurants, which owns the Hibiscus and the Fox & Grapes, is set to team up with pub company Brakspear to open a second pub in Fulham. The site, called the Malt House, is due to open in early 2013 following a £750,000 refurbishment.

In 2012, in addition to being just one of five properties admitted into that year's Relais & Chateaux guide, Bosi became one of just eight Relais & Chateaux Grand Chefs in the UK. Hibiscus also won the AA guide's top accolade of five rosettes and was also named eighth best in the UK by the Good Food Guide.

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 influencing his cooking in the eight months he spent as a sous chef at Hibiscus.

Having just turned 40, his best years in the kitchen are surely to come, while his willingness to expand with his pubs shows Bosi is cutting his teeth as a businessman as well.

Meanwhile, the accolades continue to come for Bosi, and the award of five AA rosettes to Hibiscus in 2012 makes it one of just nine restaurants to hold the accolade in the UK.

Late in 2012, Bosi hit the headlines when he had a heated debate with a food blogger on social networking site Twitter.

Claude Bosi's ranking in the 2011 Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100 >>

Claude Bosi goes public after heated exchange with food blogger >>
Success for Lime Wood and Bath Priory in Relais & Chateaux awards >>Brakspear and Claude Bosi to open Fulham pub >>

Chef Revelations - Claude Bosi >>

Hibiscus website >>

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