I first heard of the name Miko Aspiras when it was announced that he will be one of the featured Chefs at the Filipino Food Movement Australia’s Mabuhay Nights. The excitement was infectious especially when the event got rave reviews about the masterful creations that Miko concocted for the event. I got more curious and when I finally met him in FFMA’s Christmas Party last year. I was pleasantly surprised by his meek demeanour and very friendly disposition – atypical of someone has already achieved “celebrity” status in the culinary industry.
image c/o The Manila Times
Chef Miko’s passion for the culinary arts began when he started baking at age 11 helping his Aunt out in the kitchen and before he reached 30, he was already able to achieve a number of achievements that placed him on the celebrity strata:
- Won a gold medal on his first international pastry competition at the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic (2011)
- Worked with world-renowned chefs from the major hotels in the Philippines – EDSA Shangri La, Resorts World Manila, Raffles and Fairmont Hotels
- Was named Chef of the Year by Esquire Philippines in 2015
- Featured in Asia’s Forbes 30 under 30 was Philippine Tatler’s T. Dining’s Best Pastry Chef for 2018
- He was the first Philippine representative to the 2018 SIGEP Gelato Convention (Rimini, Italy) and the Valrhona Chocolate Chef Championships (New York, US)
- Founded restaurant concepts with the Tasteless Group like Poison, Le Petit Souffle’,Workshop and Scout’s Honor which has recently opened its 11th branch
- Released a cookbook with fellow chef Aileen Anastacio entitled “A Piece of Cake.”
- He received another international accolade when he was featured in the 2019 issue of So Good Magazine – a trend-setting Spanish patisserie magazine which bills itself as the magazine for haute patisserie. Miko was not only the first Filipino to be featured on the magazine but also the first Southeast Asian.
He achieved all of these without leaving the Philippines which was an amazing feat. His delectable creations are also true to his roots creating imaginative indulgences like Poison’s champorado and tuyo donuts.
However, in June 2019, together with JV, his husband of 2 years, Miko left for Australia to carve out his name on the country’s sweet spot, Sydney. According to Miko, “The BIG move has always been a very personal decision to me. It has always been me and my husband's plan to move here eventually. It is first and foremost for the future of our relationship. I also felt like I've achieved everything that a pastry chef in the Philippines could possibly dream of. I just want to make it bigger, I want to dream bigger, and possibly continue to do what I've started in the Philippines or even more. I'm still young I have the luxury of time.”
And wonderfully enough, 3 days after landing in Sydney, he already got an interview at the famed Hilton Hotel where he now works as their youngest Executive Pastry Chef. As proof of his natural talent of creating world-class pastries, when he launched his basque burnt cheesecake in the hotel’s Caffé Cino, it got sold out within a day.
In such a short time, Chef Miko has already caught Sydney’s attention having been featured on the Chief of Staff Magazine, an online profile on the Harvard Business Review Ascend and a successful degustation at the FFMA’s Mabuhay Nights last September, 2019. On March 23, another degustation experience happens as the Melbourne Food and Wind Festival features Cakes and Chikahan showcasing Chef Miko’s creative and mouth watering desserts.
Excitedly, I asked him if he was the Pinoy’s answer to Zumbo (Australian Patiserier and Chef featured on Masterchef) and he says,” Visibility-wise I think I was in some way already the Pinoy Zumbo, but yes I would love to have the same influence in Sydney as I had in the Philippines. So I can spread my sweet creations to more people. But I've made it my goal and my mission to go beyond influence - I want to make a difference in the pastry industry with my technical abilities, my ideas, my provenance, my unique sensibilities, my experience, and my vision and love for desserts. Hopefully inspire more people to realize life's simple luxuries.”