If you have a sweet tooth, chances are, know who Miko Aspiras is. The chef is behind some of Manila’s favorite desserts, giving diners all over the capital a reason to indulge in a little treat post-lunch and -dinner. If you’re not familiar with the name, you’ve probably heard of some of his restaurants: Milk Trade Hong Kong Steamed Custard, the now-defunct Magnum Cafe, Scout’s Honor, Le Petit Souffle, and Poison Doughnuts.
Of course, Manila’s most prominent dessert chef started young. His love for food began when he was five years old when he would mix seasonings, herbs, and spices when he didn’t like the food. Later on, he would develop his passion for baking when he first smelled his aunt’s freshly-baked cookies one weekend morning.
In college, Chef Miko studied at the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. His flair for innovation showed early on when his professor said he was too “out of the box.” But it was this passion for developing new ideas that led him to win competitions like the Philippine Culinary Cup (his first competition, where he won a bronze), the Hong Kong Food Exposition (gold), The World Association of Chef’s Societies Congress (the only gold medalist in the plated desserts category), and many more.
After school, Chef Miko joined a series of hotels like the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Maxims Hotel, and the Raffles and Fairmont Hotels, where he helped create unforgettable indulgences like the Salted Chocolate Tart and the Chocolate Calamansi Cake.
One of the most recognizable things about a Chef Miko creation is the uniqueness of the dish. In creating the menu for Le Petit Souffle, he told Philippine Tatler, “It’s nothing like traditional French food or Japanese food, but more of how the Japanese interpret French cuisine mixed with some Japanese quirkiness and some of my signature style. We constantly innovate our menu by introducing dishes that are unique in form and composition but still very familiar in taste and experience.”
We see more of this passion for innovation in his all-cookie concept Scout’s Honor, where he created decadent concoctions like the Cookie Inception (a cookie within a cookie within a cookie), the Cereal Cookie Bar, the Matcha Sesame, and S’mores Tag-Along. He also created a line of never-before-seen craft milk such as Horlicks, Almond Ginseng, Nutella, Salted Caramel, and more. In the now-defunct Magnum Cafe, he conceptualized popular variants Magnum Anniversary Cake, Campfire S’mores, and the Crepe de Jour.
Similarly, in Milk Trade Hong Kong Steamed Custard, he offers Hong Kong’s steamed milk, eggettes, and milk tea, his version packing a punch with rich flavors and a delicious consistency.
Chef Miko’s latest venture is Poison Doughnuts, where he bakes gourmet donuts. Don’t be fooled, though. Poison’s donuts are made from sourdough and brioche, which results in a chewier and heftier treat. The flavors are unique, too: there’s the garam masala donut with spiced sugar, the vanilla glaze with real vanilla beans, salted dark chocolate, blueberry glaze, egg custard brûlée, blueberry lemon, and Boston cream.
It seems like passion is what fuels Chef Miko in creating unforgettable desserts. The other thing that he believes to be a source of power for creatives is commitment. And to him, it starts with the simple decision to create. It’s one thing to have talent and access to opportunities, it’s another to decide to do something with them. He says, “there is no room for uncertainty or indecision. Never tolerate excuses. Don’t delay your success just because you can’t decide.”
Explore new tastes on June 16 at Cove Manila – where flavors are waiting to be discovered and passion is waiting to be unleashed. Get exclusive event access when you join the mission here.