Bruno Loubet grew up in Bordeaux in a large family – the chef was one of seven children – and developed an early love of food. He knew he wanted to be a chef from the age of ten and this was in part due to his family’s hands-on approach to the food they ate. While the family often kept poultry, they would only eat meat once or twice a week and his parents’ use of seasonal vegetables to keep their meals varied and nutritious proved an inspiration to the chef throughout his career. His father kept an allotment for their fruit and vegetables that the children would help him harvest – he has vivid memories of handfuls of ceps, radishes and vine tomatoes – and as a young boy he would even help to force-feed the family ducks for foie gras.
Beginning catering college at the age of 14 at the Lycée Hotelier de Talence in Bourdeaux, Bruno Loubet gained practical experience working at a local restaurant, the Grill de Dallau, at weekends. The restaurant served traditional regional dishes with a “no-nonsense” approach to food preparation that the young chef admired. After a spell working at the Hyatt Regal in Brussels and undertaking his then-still-compulsory French national service Bruno Loubet moved to Britain in 1982.
In London Bruno Loubet began working at La Tante Claire under Pierre Koffmann, a fellow expat from the south west of France, before accepting a head chef position at Gastronome One. Bruno Loubet impressed critics during his time at the Fulham-based restaurant, and in 1985 he was crowned the Good Food Guide’s Young Chef of the Year.
Following several years working in Oxfordshire at both Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and Le Petit Blanc Bruno Loubet returned to London, becoming the executive chef at the Four Seasons’ Inn on the Park. He stayed here for three years – earning his first Michelin star in the process – before opening up his own Soho-based Bistrot Bruno in 1992.
Bruno Loubet’s approach is to bring together three or four elements in perfect balance, highlighting the flavours of each and presenting them in a technically astounding fashion. This is clear at Bistrot Bruno Loubet – there are few of the bistro’s glowing reviews that fail to mention his signature Lièvre royale – but particularly so at the Grain Store, the restaurant Bruno Loubet opened in 2013 after years of planning.