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Review: Two Michelin chef Claude Bosi’s Signature event a night to remember

Michelin dining in the heart of Aberdeen as Claude Bosi arrives at The Chester Hotel for Signature festival

Claude Bosi in The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen for his Signature event. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson
Claude Bosi in The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen for his Signature event. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

One of the culinary greats, the two Michelin star Claude Bosi, just wanted to get his hands on a fish supper during his first trip to Aberdeen.

And although he had good intentions of securing one, by the time he was ready to order, Aberdeen’s current roadworks stood in the way.

“They [the staff] said it wouldn’t travel well because of the traffic over the bridges”, he said after admitting he’d attempted to order fish and chips from Cove’s Sea Salt and Sole.

“The owner was in last night and I really wanted to try them out. Maybe next time…”

Claude Bosi chats with guests at the Signature event .Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

The prestigious chef was in the city for The Chester Hotel’s Signature fine dining festival for two nights, bringing along some of his own brigade to cook with the hotel’s kitchen team.

Exposed to a team that operate at two Michelin star level, Chris Gray, head chef at The Chester said he’d “seen nothing like them”. “The attention to detail is incredible. The difference between one and two stars is very noticeable.”

Claude Bosi is a headline act at this month’s Signature Food Festival at The Chester Hotel. Image: Signature Food Festival

Every Signature event at the Queens Road hotel kicks off with a glass of fizz. However, the bubbles can’t prepare you for the emotional roller coater experienced ahead of dinner when the team press play on the Jellie Foundation’s informative video.

In the last five years of running the event, Graham and Gillian Wood’s fine dining festival has raised more than £1million through their foundation for local charities and causes. They’ve been able to purchase life saving equipment and have even played a fundamental role in helping keeping facilities open.

The food

Every course was exceptional, as you’d expect from a chef of this caliber. There were six dishes in total paired with WoodWinters wines.

Up first, served with a white Koue Wit 2020 wine was the Bibendum egg. Bibendum is the name of Claude’s restaurant in London so was a sensible place to start.

The Bibendum egg. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

A “taste explosion” as described by my partner, the hollowed eggshell was filled with mushroom crème. The deeper my spoon ventured the more flavour was uncovered. Pine nuts, basil, mint and more danced on my tongue. It was a favourite of the night.

The crab and Scottish kipper dish that followed with a paired Pinot Gris 2018 was also a hit. Short pieces of slightly salty samphire poked out from the bed of soft, decadent crab.

Scottish crab and kippers. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

The smokiness of the fish was welcome and the tiny jelly cubes and tiny cubes of fennel on top brought different textures to every refreshing mouthful.

Turbot with coconut and langoustine sauce and pickled carrots was the third offering of the night. Another white Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée des Ormes 2020 paired with it.

Any langoustine sauce gets a thumbs up from me, but this one is absolutely up there in terms of flavour. Lemongrass and Thai spices presented the perfect base for the sauce which was delicately rich.

Claude Bosi said his turbot dish was his favourite on the menu. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

My knife glided through the fish and instead of flaking away, it sliced straight down.

The side of pickled carrots, which were in rolled up strands, were crunchy and the sticky rice fantastic. “Exceptional!” my date toasted.

Our first and only smoky and spicy red (Pinot Noir) of the night graced our tables as the guinea fowl was placed. While the meat itself was good, it was the raspberry vinegar drizzled over it and the cauliflower mushroom on the side that stole the show.

The menu was fish heavy but guinea fowl was a key player. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

The mushroom’s subtle nuttiness balanced out the gamey flavour of the bird, but I adored that raspberry sauce.

The first dessert, Alphonso mango with olive oil was a treat.

Have you ever had olive oil on ice cream? Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

Served with Lyrarakis Liastos dessert wine, olive oil was sparingly dotted over the ice cream which was incredibly smooth. Small strands of tart rhubarb hid beneath and I was pleasantly surprised how enjoyable the dressing was.

This was also my favourite wine of the night.

Dividing the room was the last course. You either loved, the asparagus, white chocolate and black olive dessert or you were unsure. There was no real in between when I spoke to diners after.

The Riesling dessert wine was too sharp for my liking so was left to the side.

The final course divided opinions. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

The white chocolate sauce, which was poured in the centre of the plate at the table, wasn’t sweet like I’d expected. A perfectly spooned scoop of asparagus ice cream had a dollop of black olive on it. The asparagus flavour was subtle whereas the olive was punchy and demanded immediate attention.

On the other side of the plate was a ginger biscuit with sweet mushroom mousse on top. Childhood memories scoffing ginger biscuits came rushing back and were all I could think of while devouring this delicate, delicious dessert.

As tea, coffee and petit fours were served Claude made his way out of the kitchen and into the dining room. He spent plenty of time with each table, answering questions, posing for pictures and signing menus.

He had a calming, soothing presence and never once seem phased in the open kitchen. I admired the control he boasts and his “respect what you do, the produce you use and your customer” ethos.

It was a treat to meet Claude Bosi on his first visit to Aberdeen. Image: Julia Bryce/DC Thomson

The verdict

At £200 per head these dinners aren’t cheap, but for those who love Michelin and fine dining it is a rarity that you can enjoy such food quality in the heart of Aberdeen.

All of the money from the event goes towards the Jellie Foundation and supports local charities which makes it something worth digging deep for.

My only criticism? A little more description from staff would have been welcomed as this is usually a key element of Michelin dining.

Atul Kochhar is the next chef in the Signature festival diary and will be cooking later this week on Friday April 28 and Saturday April 29.

Six chefs are still to be announced for the second instalment of the 2023 event which is set to take place  later in the year.