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Food

Claude Bosi: after service

by Sarah Maber
Claude Bosi: after service
Image: Patricia Niven

Bibendum chef Claude Bosi talks to us about his about late nights, early mornings and healthy breakfasts...

Last night I didn’t leave the restaurant until around 1.40am! My job now is not just about the cooking, I need to be a restaurateur, and that means talking to the customers, making sure everything is fine. It’s hard work but I’m used to it by now.

Afterwards, I go home, take a shower and go to bed. I don’t eat anything. That’s how I’ve always done it and I’ve been working in this business for almost 30 years. I’m up at 6.30am with our son, and in the office by 8am. Now, whenever I sit down I just fall asleep!

When Freddie, our two year old, wakes up, my wife and I play with him, then we have breakfast. At the moment I’m on a greens diet. I’m not very healthy but I am trying – if you’d asked me about breakfast last week I would have said I have two double espressos! My wife leaves for work at 7.45am, then I head off on my bike to the restaurant for 8am.

Because Bibendum is a new opening, at the moment I’m working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s so much to do. The hardest part is not seeing Freddie and my daughter Paige, 11, often enough. My wife sends me pictures of what Freddie’s up to and I wish I could be there. That’s the only thing I hate about my job.

To relax, I do a lot of clay shooting. I love it. Because you have to be focused, it takes your mind off your stressful work life, it’s the perfect distraction. You can’t shoot well if you are not focused.

When I cook for the family, I like to make very simple things – a good soup, meatballs, chicken. I really love everyday home cooking.

As a young child, I spent Sundays at home en famille, and that was wonderful. I still find it difficult now to go out on a Sunday evening – being at home with my family is all I really want to do: roast dinner, and a good pint of bitter.

If Freddie told me he wanted to be a chef, I would say go for it! I would make sure he understands it’s a hard job and you will lose friends, but you’ll also make friends as well.

I’m very demanding at work. Every day you have to give 100%. Not 90%. Customers don’t care if you’ve got issues at home. Being here is psychologically and physically very hard.

If I hadn’t become a chef, I would have been a carpenter. I like wood. I don’t do any at the moment, but I’ve already told my wife that when I do retire from the restaurant business, I’m going to get myself a house with a shed. I plan to make furniture every year, and I’m going to give it to my family for Christmas. Everyone will have dodgy furniture from granddad. Ha!

Claude Bosi at Bibendum is now open at Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London.

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