Francesco Dibenedetto: Brooklands by Claude Bosi is like ‘travelling in your Napier-Railton car all around the country to discover the best of British produce’

The Staff Canteen

Francesco Dibenedetto, Chef de Cuisine of two Michelin Star restaurant Brooklands by Claude Bosi at The Peninsula, embarks on a culinary journey fuelled by passion, dedication, and a deep respect for tradition.

In a candid conversation, Francesco reveals the different aspects of his role, the essence of his partnership with Claude Bosi, and the profound influence of his Italian heritage on the culinary landscape of Brooklands.

The relationship with Claude Bosi

For Francesco, Claude Bosi isn't just a mentor; he's a friend, a confidant, and part of the family. "I like to call him Chef Claude because it's a testament to the respect and admiration I hold for him," he admits. "We have been working together for almost ten years, and I remember as if it was yesterday, the day we met on the 23rd of December 2015.”

Reflecting on their journey from Hibiscus to two Michelin star restaurant Bibendum, Francesco reminisces about the evolution of their collaboration. “After five and a half years, Chef Claude mentioned to me that there was this new project at the Peninsula Hotel and I was in to take over the restaurant, if I was interested.”

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

Francesco happily accepted the position, but initially the hardest part was the separation from Chef Claude. “We used to meet every morning, have a coffee and discuss how the day was going to be and how we going to develop things,” he reveals. “So, when I came here, of course, I had an amazing team, but I felt that a shadow was behind me.”

At the beginning it was hard, but he got used to it. Claude Bosi comes to Brooklands quite often and they sit down and chat about work and life over a coffee as they used to.

“It’s not only a relationship between two people, but also a relationship between two chefs,” Francesco clarifies. “When you're thinking about a dish or how to develop a menu, you know what Chef Claude likes and what his palate is, so the key is to create something that reflects both our palates.”

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

The Best of British produce

The best way to describe the Brooklands experience is like “travelling with your Napier-Railton car around the country to discover the best of British farmers and produce,” Francesco jokes.

Brooklands project needed to have a different identity from the other restaurants that Claude Bosi owns but had to be easily linked to what they have been working on previously.

For Francesco this wasn’t the challenge, as they knew exactly what they were going to create. “We wanted the dishes to be lighter, a little bit more natural and more minimal,” Francesco says. “I added an Italian input on the French.”

The challenge came when Dibenedetto, an Italian chef who always worked in French restaurants was instructed to create a menu showcasing the best of British produce.

“I've been in the UK for almost 20 years, and I'd never had to focus so much on what Britain has,” Francesco admits. “That’s where the exciting part started, we started contacting small farmers, small producers, and started to discover some new things.”

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

Duties as Chef de Cuisine

Francesco’s role as chef de cuisine involves overseeing the operation, making sure the guests have the best experience and creating menus with Chef Claude, “which is the most exciting thing,” Francesco admits.

He also manages a team of 26 chefs (from senior sous chefs to demi chef de parties), and 22 members of staff in the front of house.

Since the start of Brooklands, Francesco’s priority has always been to achieve consistency in the restaurant as a key to success. “The staff develop, the menu develops constantly, but I always say this to my team, the key element is to keep that consistency on a day-to-day basis.” This is something that paid off in February 2024, when just four months after opening Brooklands by Claude Bosi was awarded two Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide for UK and Ireland 2024.

Yet, amidst the pursuit of perfection, Francesco remains grounded, his gaze fixed on the future. "My biggest challenge is to keep the team excited, involved, happy and believe in the same dream," he reveals.

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

Brooklands’ sky-high journey

As guests reach the 8th floor of the Peninsula Hotel, they are greeted not only by breathtaking views of the London skyline but also a very original interior design that pays homage to the classic eras of British aviation and motorsport.

Exiting a dedicated lift, the bar is the first room on the right decorated by vintage ornaments that honour Brooklands’ history. Amongst the most remarkable of these is a Napier-Railton, the 1933 race car that set – and still holds – Brooklands’ speed record.

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

“The restaurant is a completely different concept,” Francesco explains. “Open from Tuesday to Saturday lunch and dinner it has space for 40-45 covers for each service.” An arresting scale-model of the iconic Concorde aircraft is suspended from the ceiling of the main dining room.

Customers have the option of a dual seating arrangement: one indoors within the main dining area and another on the terrace, allowing them to enjoy London's stunning skyline during sunny weather.

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star

The restaurant offers two tasting menus, one of five and one of seven courses, from which the guest can choose a three-course menu. “Our new entry is the Concorde menu,” Francesco reveals. “It is the fast way to eat here at Brooklands at lunchtime. The idea is to be able to serve customers in one hour.”

The tasting lounge, offering a variety of over 200 cigars, is the most exotic experience at Brooklands. “It's an extremely popular and busy place. People love to come, and be able to taste the different cigar offerings,” Francesco explains. “We are very lucky to have Manu, who is the person looking after the lounge, he is extremely knowledgeable. He can spend hours describing the difference between cigars and where they're from and how they're made.”

Advice to young chefs

For Francesco, the essence of hospitality lies in embracing the joy of cooking and sharing it with others. “We are chefs and we cook because we love to cook, not because we want to become superstars,” he acknowledges. “What I would like to say to young chefs is keep dreaming and love what you do because that is what is going to feed you every day. The moment you stop loving it, I think is when you're losing your path and you're losing yourself.

“I say to the guys every day ‘we are the same as in a sport person’,” he concludes. “You must train every day to be able to at least try to succeed. But that flame is made from passion, and you need to have passion to succeed in your career. So, stay focused, dream big and try to achieve your goals.”

Brooklands by Claude Bosi 2 Michelin star


In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th April 2024

Francesco Dibenedetto: Brooklands by Claude Bosi is like ‘travelling in your Napier-Railton car all around the country to discover the best of British produce’