So here is the continuation of my previous post, My Last Birthday (part 1 of 2) …
So who did I turn to for my special birthday dessert? Another good friend of mine, talented pastry chef, Miko Aspiras.
Here is Chef Miko and assistant chef Kristine who helped him set up the table for dessert…
But what my guests didn’t know was that this was no ordinary birthday dessert. This dessert was going to be an interactive dessert — a mix of “art installation” and “dessert creation” in one!
Chef Miko and I planned the whole thing in advance. I challenged his creative genius and told him to create a kind of dessert that he has never done before — using all my favorite ingredients.
For those of you who still don’t know, Miko is one of our country’s most talented pastry chefs. He has won several international competitions abroad by his sheer talent and amazing skill in the dessert arena. I first met him when he was still a new pastry chef in the French restaurant Impressions. (I was blown away by his Salted Chocolate Tart, which was a very new and unique concept then.) He then moved on to become one of Raffles and Fairmont Hotel’s top pastry chefs, while still winning international competitions left and right.
Right now, he is Magnum’s Head Pastry Chef, in both the Philippines and Malaysia outlets. He also just added another feather in his cap by opening his first store, Scout’s Honor Craft Cookie Shop, specializing in freshly baked cookies that you can craft according to your liking.
And as of this writing, he just came home from Lyon, France after joining the World Pastry Cup (together with the rest of our Philippine team) to help earn for our country the rank of no.12 in the world.
Whew! Those are a lot of accomplishments for such a young man! So it came as no surprise to me when he told me that Esquire Magazine Philippines just named him as Chef of the Year in this month’s issue (February). Congratulations, Miko!
So back to my special dessert on my birthday…
Chef Miko did what he knew best and impressed everyone around the table. He surpassed all our expectations by doing everything from scratch and transforming these little chocolate balls into many beautiful pieces of edible art!
Here is a short snippet of Chef Miko’s interactive dessert. Unfortunately these are just a few, blurry seconds that were taken with my iphone.
Looking back, how I wish I had taken a full video of this… but as you can guess — as the night’s host, I had my hands full and didn’t plan well enough for this! 🙁
The finished product.
Chef Miko calls this dessert masterpiece : d’ Action de Grâces, which is the French translation of the word : Thanksgiving. I agreed with him that this is the right name for his beautiful creation, since as I’ve mentioned, this birthday of mine fell exactly on Thanksgiving Day (which doesn’t happen every year).
He also explained that this is the perfect name for this dessert, because of the two words in it : Action and Graces… Action – of course is referring to the live interaction between the chef and the guests, while Graces – referring to the name of this birthday girl 🙂
So I guess, everything fell into place then!
What is this dessert really all about?
d’ Action de Grâces has all my favorite things in it. That chocolate ball is made up of Guanaja chocolate, filled with : strawberry mousse, freshly made marshmallows and feulitine crumble. It is mixed inside with 3 kinds of sauces : dark chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.
Now what you see outside the chocolate ball are many different things that Chef Miko also made from scratch : fresh granola crumbs, yellow corn panna cotta, mango coulis. And that black thing? That’s homemade bamboo charcoal made of ricotta cheese!
I don’t even know how to begin or how to best describe the boldness of this dessert and the complexity of its flavors. I think no words can give justice to Chef Miko’s talent and what he can do — especially when challenged! So I will just leave it as is and say, that yes that was really one AMAZING dessert!
To end, thank you to Chef Chele and Chef Miko for making my birthday extraordinarily special. More than the delicious food you made, your undeniable talent and great passion for what you do are indeed inspiring.
Thank you to my friends who celebrated with me. Contrary to what a lot of people think, I don’t really have a lot 🙂 But with the little I have, I am thankful for their genuine friendship.
Last but not the least, I am and will forever be grateful to the One above, my Creator, Who breathed life unto me. In spite of my unworthiness, You continue to spoil me with more than what I truly deserve. My thank yous will never be enough but just the same, I will say THANK YOU now for my heart is full, overflowing and just bursting with Your love!
From Chef Miko’s early days as a starting pastry chef, I have always been a big fan of his work. To read about his other desserts that I have previously written on the blog, click here .