If you think the only thing linking Britain with France is the channel tunnel, you’ve obviously never been to the Hibiscus. Claude Bosi’s exclusive restaurant in London is a stronghold of Anglo-French harmony. Thanks to the creativity of the chef, this harmony finds its tasteful expression in dishes which are as unique as they are exquisite.
Born and bred in Lyon, Claude Bosi knew from an early age that his calling lay in the kitchen. After creating a furore in his parent’s bistro – at the tender age of 14! – he was apprenticed to chef Jean-Paul Lacombe in the Leon de Lyon, the most renowned restaurant in the city. This was the starting point of an impressive career path, which was to lead through a number of the most illustrious restaurants in France.
As a graduate of the École de Cuisine, the young Bosi cooked in La Pyramide in Vienne and also worked briefly in the Caribbean. It was in Paris, however, that his career really took off. Here he worked in the two-star restaurant Michel Rostang under the chef after whom the restaurant is named. He also worked in L’Aperge under Alain Passard, in Le Chiberta and finally as sous chef in the three-star Plaza Athenee run by Alain Ducasse. At this point, Claude Bosi was just 25 years old. So what could possibly come next?
Bosi took a step which few of his colleagues would ever have dared to take. He moved to a rural area of Britain – to Ludlow in Shropshire. Right in the middle of nowhere, the nearest city more than an hour’s drive away. Yet it was right here, in the genteel Overton Grange, that he recognised potential for perfecting his style of cooking. Promoted to head chef after just one year, Claude Bosi immersed himself in the tastes and aromas of the British empire, creating seasonal menus that extracted the cream of British cooking and French cuisine, uniting them to form one harmonious entity.
With his background in the French school of cookery, he boldly made his own unique niche in the multifaceted world of gourmet cuisine. A niche to which he remained true when, in 2000, he opened his first restaurant together with his wife Claire. When he opened the Hibiscus in Ludlow, it was a long-cherished dream come true for Bosi. And he continued to pamper to the culinary dreams of the Brits, who had grown to adore his unique dishes.
In 2001, the Hibiscus was awarded its first Michelin star; two years later, a second star was added. By 2007, Bosi finally felt that the time had come to move on. He jumped at the opportunity of moving his restaurant to London. Since then, he has welcomed diners to the Hibiscus right in the centre of England’s capital city.
After the move, Claude Bosi was able to reclaim both Michelin stars – no wonder, considering the exclusive seasonal menus offered by the chef of the Hibiscus. In spring, for example, Bosi likes to serve fish – such as delectable halibut – with charred sweet corn, Jerusalem artichoke and vanilla purée. Or guinea fowl stuffed with wild mushrooms, baby carrots and orange purée.
“If you asked me to describe my style,” says Claude Bosi, “I’d say it was ‘French cuisine but my version’. I don’t really like the expressions ‘modern’ or ‘modern French’; they have somewhat negative connotations for me. At the end of the day, it’s all about respecting the ingredients and the way in which they are produced. Food is something very personal – you should only cook what you yourself like to eat. Then other people will like it too, and they’ll come back for more.”
The Frenchman won the affection of the Brits years ago. Now Austrians have the opportunity to form their own impression of the new Anglo-French study of harmony. In April, Claude Bosi will be coming to Salzburg, where he will be joined by the Restaurant Ikarus team in creating an unforgettable menu. For himself, and for those who visit Hangar-7.