Banquist isn’t your typical heat-and-eat meal kit; instead, it’s a cooking-lesson-in-a-box designed to turn you into a top chef. With menus curated by some of the world’s most notable chefs, Banquist is all about helping you recreate Michelin-starred, restaurant-level dishes in your own home. Each month features a new selection of chef menus and boxes to choose from. Boxes are delivered to your door with everything you need to whip up a spectacular, three-course meal (with an optional cheese course and wine pairings). The menus of previous boxes have been designed by chefs like Atul Kochhar, Adam Handling, Jeremy Chan, and Ruth Hansom. Each box is linked to a pre-recorded, step-by-step video cooking lesson hosted by the chef who designed the menu. Boxes have a difficulty rating out of 5 and the experiences range from about 100 – 140 minutes depending on the chef and the difficulty of the menu.
The Experience & The Food
There are new Banquist boxes available every month. I was given a choice of two Banquist boxes to try, which debuted in April, and I opted for the one designed by Theo Randall (chef-patron of Theo Randall at the Intercontinental and former head chef at River Café). The menu had a distinctly rustic Italian twist and just screamed of springtime, featuring delicate fresh tagliatelle with ribbons of courgettes; charred sirloin with juicy Datterini tomatoes; and a sun-bright, sharp and punchy Amalfi lemon tart. The difficulty rating for this menu was listed at a two out of five, which I agree with, and the full experience was slated to take 120 minutes, which was also right on point.
The focus of Banquist is on rare and seasonal ingredients with produce coming from places like Natoora and meat from HG Walter, and this is immediately apparent as soon as you open the box. Everything was practically singing with freshness and seasonality.
This is a proper cooking lesson, but don’t let that intimate you. Theo Randall was with me the whole time via video, showing me exactly what to do. The cooking steps are also included in a print-out within the box. You’re expected to have some basic cooking equipment (for example, my box required a pestle and mortar to make the pesto from scratch) and some very basic ingredients (like salt and pepper, olive oil, etc.). All of your effort—including the considerable clean-up—will be worth it: the experience is an absolute joy and the food even more so. The generous pile of fresh pasta as a starter was verdant and garden-bright with the aforementioned made-from-scratch pesto. The beef, dressed up on an overstuffed bed of creamy borlotti beans, peppery rocket, and sun-ripened, oven-roasted tomatoes was everything you could want in the main course. And the sharp Amalfi tart whisked me away to sun-dazzled Positano with one bite. Our box also came with a bottle of pre-mixed Negronis and a lovely, tannic Chianti, which added to the incredible, escapist experience. And the cheese course of camembert, gorgonzola, and Winchester mature (plus spicy hot pepper jam)? Unnecessary, as you’ll be stuffed, but what a delight.
Banquist offers nationwide delivery. Each menu consists of three courses, a wine pairing, and an optional cheese course. Boxes are usually delivered on Friday (you should receive a one-hour time slot the day of your delivery via DPD), and the food can be cooked all weekend. Prices vary, but as an example, the Theo Randall box was priced at £89.90 for two but would also work perfectly as dinner for four.