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With a Michelin star at the young age of 26, the position of head chef at the legendary Bibendum, London, and being called a phenomenon in the culinary world—Claude Bosi needs no further introduction. Fascinated by the tandoori skills of India, the chef is in Delhi to present his own skills and dishes from his restaurant featuring new-age French food, during a special pop-up at the newly-launched Upstairs at the Indian Accent. Not new to hosting international chefs, especially after the collaborative menu with celebrated Italian chef Sabrina Gidda last winter, Indian Accent has promising plans for its new premises at the luxurious Lodhi Hotel. Needless to say, one can feel the excitement that Claude Bosi exudes with his cooking in this space.Vogue got an exclusive tête-à-tête with the visiting chef over his curated menu featuring spectacular wine pairing by Daniel Beedle.
French food 101
If there were a vote for the finest sophistication in dining, the majority would go to the French. Bosi mastered this cuisine long before it became trendy in India. “I think people often think of French food as too heavy and rich. I think it if it’s done properly, it’s still one of the best in the world. The great thing about travelling to places like India for me, is the merging of the traditional elements of French food with flavours and techniques that are new. I think that is what I would like first-time diners to think of when they think about my food. I’m still a French cook who enjoys learning and using new ingredients,” adds Bosi over a plate of Kanyakumari Crab, served with a succulent apple and nimbu lemon crust that oozes with unexpected flavours and is paired with a delicious Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
There is only one element that comes to mind with French cuisine and that is butter (and lots of it). While butter is a delight for the taste buds, the rising tribe of the calorie conscious would beg to differ, and it only poses a dilemma to anyone attempting to eat or try a hand at this genre of cuisine, especially after trying the luscious Mushroom Custard at the pop-up. “Just enjoy life: it’s too short! Having said that, many of the dishes we have at Bibendum are very well suited to people that don’t want to consume lots of calories. I enjoy using seafood and the simple preparation of this or our roast chicken won’t tip the scales too much, you don’t have to eat all the Potato Dauphinoise that it comes with!” The Dauphinoise is surely a classic for the French, however, Bosi has a tough time picking his three favourites for the perfect French meal. “It’s really so hard to pick just three classic French dishes, the classic dishes in the North of France are very different from all over. For where I am from, Lyon, I would say Salad Lyonnaise, Quenelle de Brochet, and Saucisson Brioche with Beaujolais Sauce. These are classics, and also my favourites!”
French chefs world over are looking at Indian ingredients to add that layer of zing to their cooking (the sharp Kasundi mustard already has a cult following). Bosi, who has already fallen in love with the country and has Kerala on his bucket list, has a different chosen one from the Indian soil. “I have found these beautiful fresh chickpeas that I’m using with morel from the Kashmir area (gucchi, for the uninitiated); absolutely beautiful! We visited the vegetable market before we started cooking and the variety of produce available was just brilliant, it’s so exciting to get to taste things I haven’t before and think about how I might use them to bring more to my dishes,” beams the excited chef. While the offerings on the menu are majorly French, there comes a surprise with a melt-in-the-mouth Goat Stuffed with Pork and topped with (wait for it) Dal Makhani. “All the dishes we are bringing to Indian Accent in Delhi are dishes from Bibendum, only the goat dish we changed slightly, as we weren’t able to find the produce needed to do it. After I tried the Dal Makhani, I knew it was the perfect strong flavour to use with the goat; it works really well!”
Personally plating each and every plate that passes the mis-en-place, one instantly knows that the two Michelin stars on Claude Bosi’s mantle haven’t come easy. He does have tips for all those aspirants out there (and reading this) for their own Michelin stars, “I would say be honest with what you can do. Be true to what you believe; what you want to cook. It’s very easy to follow trends but be consistent, understand your customers and why they come to you, and you will have a strong business. And maybe the Michelin star will follow.” Amen to that from the Instagram generation, a social media platform Bosi acknowledges as important for the culinary world. Does it affect the way he sees his dishes? “Yes, it does, though the main absolute focus for me is the flavour. However good a picture might look on Instagram, it has to have the flavour of the ingredients, and taste good!” And on this note comes a stunning Pepper Parfait, assembled in an orb, perched on pineapple and surrounded by edible flowers—a dish that will soon be seen peppered on Indian Accent’s geotag on Instagram.
The Claude Bosi pop-up is on till February 10, 2018, at Upstairs at Indian Accent, The Lodhi, New Delhi and features a six-course lunch and nine-course dinner with wine pairings, besides an a-la-carte menu. For reservations, call 011-66175151 or 09871117968