In celebration of the release of their newest cookbook A Piece of Cake, award-winning pastry chefs Miko Aspiras and Aileen Anastacio shared the intricacies of dessert-making with culinary students of Benilde’s School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management.
The live demo at the college’s La Cuisine Theater showed the step-by-step process of the New York Cheesecake, the all-time favorite confection which graces the cover of their book. Aspiras and Anastacio likewise shared techniques on the essentials of baking—from temperature hacks and blending of ingredients, to the overall look and composition.
Anastacio, with decades of expertise as chef, coffee connoisseur, author, food columnist, cooking show host, food consultant, and entrepreneur, revealed the top tips on the business of pastry making and what makes a premium product.
“Whether you are baking a classic or experimenting, remember that you are the first customer of your dessert,” she advised. “If you are creating something, it should be something that you like.”
Meanwhile, Aspiras, the executive pastry chef and partner at Tasteless Food Group, and hailed as Philippine Tatler’s T. Dining’s Best Pastry Chef, Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30, and Esquire Chef of the Year, shared his insights as a revolutionary with his innovative pieces.
“Do not be afraid; widen your knowledge and try doing things,” he advised. “By avant-garde, we mean something new and is beyond the norm. However, giving it a new take doesn’t mean violating the properties of the classic. It is important that people can still remember the experience of the original dessert.”
The live cooking demo was followed by a book launch and signing of A Piece of Cake (P1,500) at the Vatel Restaurant Manila, where the comprehensive cookbook was officially introduced for the first time.
The 328-page paperback features 50 dessert concepts on the classics with two executions: Anastacio’s contemporary take and Aspiras’ experimental spin. It offers the chefs’ tried-and-tested and beginner-friendly personal recipes covering an extensive line-up of cakes, pies, brownies, cookies, macarons, flans, ice creams, and puddings, all using locally and sustainably sourced ingredients.
Both Anastacio and Aspiras believe it is the perfect time to impart their expertise with budding culinarians, pastry enthusiasts, and even foodies who want to try their hands on the kitchen. “We hope that through this book, we will help develop confident chefs who are proudly Filipino,” Anastacio beamed.
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