We are happy to announce the arrival of the Chef's Banquet ARK bucket into Canada. The Chef's Banquet line has been available in the US for some time now, and has been received very well there. The Chef’s Banquet line is widely known for its high quality of taste, packaging and value.
We are always scouting for real food products, you know, the type that you can actually eat and smile while doing so… So when we heard about Chef’s Banquet, we brought in some samples, loved them, and now I have a pallet sitting beside my desk. Over the years we have tried many bucket meals, and our team honestly gives this bucket two thumbs up. (More reviews below…)
Details: the ARK bucket is a 6 gallon pail weighing in at 25 lbs, contains 335 servings of food within 11 different varieties, and has a 20 year shelf life.
The 11 varieties:
• Beef flavoured vegetable stew (30 servings)
• Chicken flavoured vegetable stew (30 servings)
• Polenta (30servings)
• Pasta and marinara sauce (30 servings)
• Red beans and rice (30 servings)
• Mixed vegetables (30 servings)
• Spanish rice (30 servings)
• Hearty potato soup (30 servings)
• Instant potatoes (30 servings)
• Rolled oats (30 servings)
• Orange drink (35 servings)
Simply by searching online you can find a tonne of reviews on Chef’s Banquet, and the majority show positive feedback towards the
quality and taste of the product. Here are some of our personal reviews.
Chicken Flavoured Vegetable Stew -
The instructions say to mix ¼ cup of stew with 1 cup of water. I had some mouths to feed,
so I did up 1 cup of mix and 4 cups of water for my first batch. Then “slowly bring to a boil” – simple, check. “Stir often to avoid burning” –
check. “Soup will thicken rapidly when it reaches a boil”. Not sure who gets to define rapidly, but in my kitchen, I stirred and boiled
for about 15 min. At that point it was a very nice thick consistency. I know the name says stew, but this is much more of a soup in my
opinion. A nice thick and creamy soup. The water to mix ratio was just right.
I dished it up and handed it out to our testers. (Four of us including children) There were smiles all round. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
The veggie chunks had all softened up nicely, the cream tasted great and everyone handed empty bowls back for seconds.
The consensus was that this meal was way better than emergency food and could be used happily on a daily basis.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
(A quick note on the Briden teams rating scale. We rate based on apples to apples – so comparing camping or survival type food to the same –
not compared to a gourmet restaurant meal. Therefore: 0 = gross, rather eat dirty dirt, 10 = the best campfire meal you can imagine)
Hearty Potato Soup – wow, hearty indeed. Potato Soup is a favourite meal amongst our crew, so this one had some stiff competition to
measure up against right from the start. Thankfully, we were not disappointed, but were rather surprised – it actually tasted as good,
if not better than our normal potato soup variety. It has great flavour and consistency by itself, but can also be easily enhanced by
adding corn, cheese and/or bacon to make it stretch a little further. This meal, in our opinion, goes far past emergency food to the
point that we would happily add it into our regular, every-day meal rotation.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Beef Flavoured Vegetable Stew
– this one cooked up more like a stew I thought. Though the longer I cooked it, the more creamy it
became. So I suppose you could cook it to your liking. Once again I made way more than the instructions, 1 cup of mix and 4 cups
water. Once again about 15 min of boiling. The instructions said 10 - 12, but even at 15 minutes the veggies were still a little
too solid. We found out after they had sat and cooled for a few minutes, the veggies then softened up a good amount. Taste test
response: certainly edible, not gourmet.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Orange Drink –
I mixed up a full two litres of this one. No sense wasting time. Handed it around, response: its orange drink,
nothing more, nothing less. No qualms on this one.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Overall we are very satisfied by the contents of this bucket. When testing, we didn’t add any seasonings or anything else to
any of the mixes to make them edible, and to me that is very important. We are taught to store seasonings, and we do, but I
don’t want to base my precious storage on having to “fix” my food just to swallow it.
The ARK now replaces the Food for Health bucket, which we stopped carrying in December of last year. The Food for Health Bucket
was letting us down in terms of quality, and we simply won’t stand behind a product we aren’t happy to eat ourselves.
We have also recently brought in a Breakfast Granola Bucket from Nutristore. I won’t go into it in this post, maybe next time,
but just to let you know it tastes great too! The options for our food storage are just getting better and better. Now it’s
your turn to try some out and see what you think. If you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments below
or contact me directly. There are more pictures and
details like the Nutritional label available via the Briden Solutions online website.
This post by Dwight from Briden Solutions - Proudly
helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies.