Large and stocky with the nose of a Roman emperor, Claude Bosi grew up in Lyon, where his parents ran a bistro. A wild child, he accidentally set fire to the kitchen while frying an egg. When he was 14 the school called his house to say his grades were okay but they didn’t want him around anymore. “I decided then and there to become a cook,” he recalls.
For the next year he “pre-apprenticed” at a friend’s brasserie, full-time and without pay. That led to an apprenticeship with Jean-Paul Lacombe and later stints with Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse. He moved to Ludlow, England, to brush up his language skills while working as a sous-chef. With his then-wife, Claire, he finally opened his own restaurant, Hibiscus, and earned two Michelin stars. In 2007 the couple relocated Hibiscus from Ludlow to London, regaining their stars in little time.
The majority of his products come from Britain’s small farms and producers, and are always in season. His cuisine is modern and surprising, the flavors of each ingredient dialled up to maximum, such as roasted scallops with pork pie sauce and pink grapefruit purée. Some critics describe his food as feminine, despite the lamb testicles that often appear on the menu.
Recently Bosi and his brother took over a pub in Wimbledon, The Fox and Grapes, where they serve ale-battered fish and chips alongside other extremely English fare. Bosi’s accent, on the other hand, remains as thick as foie gras.