Last month I received the kind of invitation that makes me very, very happy – would I be interested in taking part in a special evening of food and cognac pairings with Claude Bosi, the chef responsible for bringing two Michelin stars to London’s much loved Bibendum restaurant in Brompton Cross?
They asked me to compère the evening, interview Claude on stage, introduce his chef demonstration and then moderate an audience Q&A. All of this to be live in front of some 120 people in the Oyster Bar on the ground floor of Bibendum in a break from service upstairs. So no pressure then.
The invitation came courtesy of La Maison Rémy Martin, a private members’ club that began in 2014 as a pop-up for one month every year. During the rest of the year, it organises one night events, like this one, to keep a conversation going with its members.
The Rémy Martin ethos – One Life / Live Them – is designed to celebrate individuals’ various talents and interests, encouraging them not to be defined by one thing. This is brought to life through La Maison Rémy Martin and its associated members’ events (such as this gastronomy evening).
Their goal is always to encourage their members not to be defined by the one thing that they do, but all that they do. The philosophy behind everything that they do is: Why be one thing, when you can be many? You only get one life. Live it.
Given that I have a finger in so many pies – journalist, author, broadcaster, speaker, blogger, digital entrepreneur and, of course, cook, La Maison Rémy Martin understandably considered that I was the epitome of their philosophy. Equally Claude, with his roles as chef-patron, entrepreneur and enormous culinary success, and huge inspiration to an entire generation of chefs, is another.
Rémy Martin is the only family owned leading Cognac producer, spanning nine generations, and almost three hundred years of craftsmanship and expertise. Using only grapes from the two most sought after winegrowing areas in the cognac region, also known as Fine Champagne Cognac, an appellation given to the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne crus in Cognac, Rémy Martin has become a globally recognised symbol of excellence & quality thanks to its sophisticated, complex and opulent cognacs.
So Claude developed a bespoke menu to enhances the flavours and aromas of Rémy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac. We started the evening with oysters, and a Rémy Grand Tonic (1/3 Rémy Martin VSOP, 2/3 tonic water and a lemon wedge). Served in a large wine glass, it’s the French twist on the classic British G&T, and the perfect after-work drink.
Interviewing Claude was fascinating – his career has taken him from his native France, where he trained, to Ludlow in Shropshire and thence to London. was forged in the kitchens of some of France’s most acclaimed Michelin-starred kitchens – La Pyramide Fernand Point, Restaurant Chiberta, L’Arpège and Restaurant Alain Ducasse.
After arriving in Ludlow in 1997 to become sous chef of Overton Grange, he was rapidly promoted and won his first Michelin star within two years.
But it’s for his own restaurant Hibiscus that he is most famous. Opened in Ludlow in 2000, he again won a Michelin star, achieving a second in 2004. In 2008 he took a gigantic career defining step to re-open Hibiscus in London, which again rapidly was awarded two stars.
In 2016, Bosi closed Hibiscus restaurant to take on the role of head chef at Bibendum where, yes, he has also gained two stars.
During our talk the audience enjoyed the Rémy Martin 1738 (Accord Royal) neat, on ice, paired with Claude’s menu.