Rock star pastry chef Miko Aspiras returns to PH

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Oct 01 2022 12:11 PM

Chef Miko Aspiras. Jeeves de Veyra
Chef Miko Aspiras. Jeeves de Veyra

MANILA -- Multi-awarded dessert chef Miko Aspiras makes a welcome return to the Philippine food scene as executive pastry chef partner for Visum Ventures, the group behind Koomi, Zig, Sante, Oh My Greek, Meraki, Salt & Ice, and the exclusive distributor of T2 teas.

Aspiras’s creations became wildly popular with local dessert lovers for the quirky, experimental, and sometimes elaborate nature of what comes out of his kitchen. From queso de bola macarons, to ketchup and mayo ice cream, nary a dessert has been spared the Miko Aspiras touch and became viral before becoming viral was even a thing.

Foodies were dismayed when Aspiras announced he was moving to Australia. He worked at several hotels and eventually put up Don’t Doughnuts, which quickly got the attention of the locals, including glowing reviews in the Australian media.

Chef MIko Aspiras with John Michael Hilton, president and CEO of Visum Ventures. Jeeves de Veyra
Chef MIko Aspiras with John Michael Hilton, president and CEO of Visum Ventures. Jeeves de Veyra

John Michael Hilton, president and CEO of Visum Ventures, recalled looking for a dessert specialist for the group of restaurants. Not only was Aspiras’ name mentioned the most, but it was also said with much reverence. 

Hilton stalked Aspiras on social media while at the same time, tapping colleagues in the Australian F&B industry who worked in the hotels the young chef worked with such as the Hilton Sydney and boutique hotel Ovalo Sydney where he was executive pastry chef for a time.

Hilton flew to Australia, visited him at his shop, bought a couple of donuts, and after several meetings on Zoom, the deal was done.

During his short visit to Manila, Aspiras showed that, not only has he not lost his touch, but he has greatly matured as a chef incorporating flavors and ingredients from his new home without forgetting his roots.

Chefs Chele Gonzalez and Miko Aspiras. Jeeves de Veyra
Chefs Chele Gonzalez and Miko Aspiras. Jeeves de Veyra

At his homecoming dinner at Gallery by Chele, there was a sweet and savory course by chef Chele Gonzalez and Aspiras. Gonzalez presented a Truffle Macaron -- with the richness of truffle balanced out by the sweetness of the macaron -- which Aspiras matched with his pain de mais,a corn cake topped with siling labuyo pimiento and Palawan honey.

Chef Miko Aspiras' Pan de Mais with Chef Chele Gonzalez's Truffle Macaron. Jeeves de Veyra
Chef Miko Aspiras' Pan de Mais with Chef Chele Gonzalez's Truffle Macaron. Jeeves de Veyra

Aspiras is no slouch with savory bites. With the toasty, Australian-style open face sandwich, the chef melded the saltiness of tuyo cream and anchovies, with the lemony tartness of finger limes, an ingredient often used Down Under but is rarely seen locally.

Anchovy Toastie with Finger Limes. Jeeves de Veyra
Anchovy Toastie with Finger Limes. Jeeves de Veyra

But it is with the dessert courses that Aspiras shocks, awes, and reminds diners what a Miko Aspiras creation is like. His Forêt Noire is a playful interpretation of the black forest cake and it has all of Aspiras' hallmarks -- creative, quirky, elaborate, multi-element, and a feast for the eyes and the palate.

Foret Noire. Jeeves de Veyra
Foret Noire. Jeeves de Veyra

Aspiras acknowledged the Visum Ventures complement of chefs who were all hands-on deck to execute his desserts, including this Banana Que – a banana financier with langka mousse with pop rocks, pili, and roasted wattle seeds topped with a delicate tuile. Wattle seeds, a traditional seed used by the aborigines for food, were also churned into the ice cream on the side.

Banana Que. Jeeves de Veyra
Banana Que. Jeeves de Veyra

Lastly, the petit fours really showcased the kind of bites Aspiras will be bringing to Visum Ventures' concepts. The plate consisted of a browned butter calamansi cake, a cookie made with sable breton coconut marshmallow and Dumaguete passion fruit, and a praline made with duck fat mayo, dark chocolate, and the Australian breakfast favorite Vegemite.

Salt and Ice Petit Fours. 
Salt and Ice Petit Fours. Jeeves de Veyra

As executive pastry chef, Aspiras will be in charge of creating and curating desserts for existing and upcoming concepts. He is hitting the ground running with his first projects executing a high tea sweet and savory menu for the upcoming T2 tea salon at The Podium, the champagne breakfast and dessert offerings for Salt & Ice bar, and breads and pastries for the Black Bean coffee concept opening at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

As partner, Visum Ventures will be building concepts around Aspiras and his creations. The first will be a yet unnamed gelato shop projected to open early next year with eight locations already in the pipeline.

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