A masterclass in French bistro classics from Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi

March 6, 2024

For most married couples, the stress of opening a restaurant together would be a recipe for divorce. Between managing builders, engaging suppliers, hiring staff and the thousand other boxes that must be ticked, it’s a tricky undertaking at the best of times, let alone to manage around family life. 

Yet as they speak to me ahead of opening Joséphine, their new in Chelsea, on March 2, Claude and Lucy Bosi seem to be getting along just fine. Amid the dust and clanging of the final stages of the build, they are looking forward to opening their doors. ‘We’re under budget and on time, just like every restaurant…’ Lucy jokes.

‘It seems like a crazy idea, but perhaps it’s not,’ she adds. ‘Claude wanted to open a bouchon for a long time but we couldn’t find a location. Then we found one. Perhaps the timing wasn’t exactly right but it’s a beautiful spot. I left my job [at booking platform OpenTable] and came to work on it. 

‘I wouldn’t tell Claude how to cook something, that would be madness, but I’m looking after everything to do with marketing, PR, branding, design. It’s a clear delineation. It works.’ Claude agrees. ‘The beauty is that we both have skills and we don’t cross over. Lucy is very good at what she’s doing and I have a good team who will do what I want them to do.’ 

Claude is a French chef who attracts Michelin stars like iron filings to a magnet. He got one in his first head chef role at Overton Grange in Ludlow, then two for Hibiscus. His restaurant , in the Michelin building in South Kensington, has held two since it opened in 2017. In February, , his restaurant at the top of the new Peninsula hotel at Hyde Park Corner, went straight to two stars as well. In between, he has found time to oversee the food at Socca, a smart Provençal bistro in Mayfair. 

Chef Claude Bosi

‘Claude Bosi attracts Michelin stars like iron filings to a magnet’

Credit: Laura Edwards

Despite his reputation for fine dining, Claude has dreamed of having a more down-to-earth, homely place for many years. He was raised in Lyon, where bouchons – small, convivial inn-style places, which serve hearty rustic food – are the signature restaurants. Claude grew up eating in them; Joséphine is named after his grandmother, who was a big culinary influence on him. 

‘It’s not what people expect of you, but it’s going back to what you grew up with,’ says Lucy, turning to Claude.

‘It’s good home cooking, priced properly, with a good wine list,’ Claude says. ‘There will be two different menus – a menu de canut, named for the people who used to work the silk in Lyon, that will be very dirty Lyonnaise cooking. Then there’s the more bistro type, with steak tartare, onion soup, lapin à la moutarde for two. We’re trying to bring a real feeling of home.’ 

As well as this newest baby, there is the matter of two human children (Freddie, nine, and Mabel, three) to look after at home in Clapham: they say they will not both be in the restaurant at all hours, trusting in a crack team assembled from Claude’s other ventures. 

Although Claude has had this idea in mind for many years, Joséphine comes on the tail of Bouchon Racine, Henry Harris’s restaurant in Farringdon, one of the best-loved openings of recent years. Fine dining will always have its place – as Claude’s Michelin success shows – but there is also a clamour for generous, big-hearted traditional French cooking. In the end, Claude says, it comes down to one simple fact: ‘Lyonnaise cooking is f—king delicious.’ His grandmother might approve of the sentiment, if not the language.

Joséphine opens on March 2; 315 Fulham Road, SW10 9QH;

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