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Claude Bosi

It’s been a busy few years for Claude Bosi. Not only is he leading Bibendum, one of London’s most iconic restaurants, to Michelin-starred glory, winning two of the coveted stars, but also overseeing Esher’s popular gastropub The Swan Inn as chef proprietor.

Bibendum, set in the old Michelin Tyres London HQ and named after Michelin’s famous tyre man character, was originally opened by Sir Terrence Conran and publisher Paul Hamlyn back in 1987, and was soon a major fixture on the London dining scene. Ironically, given the Michelin building location and in spite of its success, it never won a Michelin star in its 30-year-history. Claude Bosi became involved, re-opening after a massive refurbishment in March 2017 and two coveted stars quickly followed.

He is delighted by how quickly the two stars were awarded to Bibendum. “We worked hard and it paid off. It was great teamwork, and an amazing achievement.” Claude is no stranger to success. He won two stars at his restaurant Hibiscus in Ludlow, Shropshire, and again when he moved Hibiscus to London – although time was pressed before the builders moved out and Michelin came in and it initially lost a star when it first opened.

Is there any particular advice that has spurred him on his journey? “I am quite stubborn and I don’t really listen to advice. If I mess up, I want to take responsibility for it. That said, the best advice is to stick to your beliefs and don’t change your mind to follow a trend.”

He loves the fact that his new restaurant is in such an iconic building and dishes include favourite touches from Hibiscus along with Bibendum classics. Its original premise when it first opened in the eighties was to bring to London classic, accessible French cooking. Offal was a mainstay, and it remains, albeit with a Bosi twist with the menu featuring dishes such as ‘My mum’s tripe and cuttlefish gratin, pig’s ear and ham cake’.

Claude, who now lives in Clapham, grew up in Lyon, where his parents ran a bistro. “My mum would go to the market to get fresh produce, which would result in a plat du jour every day. It was all very simple.” He likens the conviviality of the bistro to our British pubs. In 2016, he set his sights on Esher’s The Swan Inn, turning it into a gorgeous gastropub with comfort food favourites and pub classics. The Swan’s approach is proving popular, offering traditional roasts and burgers alongside dishes such as skate wings with beurre blanc.

When asked what his most memorable dish of all time is, Claude declares it to be mashed potato – with the addition of caviar, which he ate at Geist in Copenhagen. “I can still taste it now,” he enthuses. “It was beautiful.” Geist’s chef, Bo Bech, combined the ingredients to raise the idea that potato could be as good as caviar if given the right care.

Claude is of a similar mind: “There is as much you can do with a burger as you can with a lobster. You can do great fish and chips. Food is not just about luxury ingredients.”

At home, Claude favours cooking simple dishes. “I Iove making food that you can cook in just one pot as I usually do the washing up! I love ragus and chicken casserole, comforting dishes that you just put on the stove.”

It is time at home with his family that he holds dear. “Bibendum took a lot of time and so I spend as much time as I can with them.”

Claude BosiThe Swan Inn Crab and elderflower jelly