From Pig’s Blood To 17 Layers Of Strawberry Goodness: The Secret Of Chefs Kristine Lotilla And Miko Aspiras Of Workshop Bespoke Bakery At The Grid
They both loved desserts so much, and shared so much passion for baking and creating flavors. They would create beautiful and sweet creations, inspired from their travels and unconventional ingredients. He would be the crazy genius, coming up with all of these bold combinations and flavors. She would be the yin to his yang, taming his gigantic ideas and bringing it to the ground.
They are Chef Miko Aspiras and Chef Kristine Lotilla, tasteful masterminds behind the desserts of the Tasteless Food Group.
Metro.Style sat with Kristine at the recently opened The Grid at the Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, and she shares with us their beautiful partnership that has blossomed over the years, giving birth to amazing food concepts such as Le Petit Soufflé, Scout’s Honor, Poison Doughnuts, and now, Workshop Bespoke Bakery.
“Miko and I actually met in Fairmont and Raffles. He was my Chef de partie that time, fresh grad pa lang ako noon,” Kristine recalls. “It was 2014, I think, when Charles (Paw) was looking for tenants for Hole in the Wall, and one of Charles’ partners actually asked Miko because they wanted a dessert concept. Since Miko didn’t want to do it alone, he asked me if I want to do it with him.”
It all started with a small cookie shop at Hole in the Wall, which we now know as the phenomenal Scout’s Honor. Shortly, also with Charles, the duo worked on the menu items for Le Petit Soufflé, a full-on dining and dessert place that fuses French and Japanese techniques.
Under the Le Petit Soufflé brand was Workshop, the bakery part of the restaurant. And when Charles started to curate the stalls that would go in The Grid, Workshop just clicked right in.
Workshop Bespoke Bakery at The Grid brings the popular items from the original Workshop at Le Petit, only this time, with more dessert items and room for the two to play around.
“We are planning to really expand the variety and just be more creative, but still approachable to people. It’s as easy as, ‘I want a brownie,’ but [here at Workshop,] it’s a very good brownie. It’s a life-changing brownie!” Kristine says. “That’s what we want to come across, that desserts aren’t intimidating. And if you have a good dessert, it’s good enough to complete your meal. A lot of our items here are very approachable not intimidating, just very casual, good for the market.”
This is where the partnership of Miko and Kristine really comes in, because Kristine is able to translate Miko’s grand dessert ideas into bite-sized portions that the market will still understand and love.
“Miko and I, our partnership is like a brain; the left and the right. Miko is super creative; ako, parang magaling mag-numbers. In a way, with Miko, he is still out with creative things, but you really have to adjust it to what the market will buy. So for me, I’m more of flavor-particular. That’s my approach. Both of us knows how to adjust to each other. That’s how we work,” Kristine explains.
So as a result, you have these regular items you’d normally see in every dessert place: a normal-looking cake, a normal-looking brownie, a workaday cheesecake—but once you bite into it, you get that burst of flavors, you get that phenomenal texture, and you go, “Oh, that’s really good.”
What Workshop is also introducing right now are more flavors for their signature 17-layer cake. The 17-layer Chocolate Cake was one of the best-sellers at Le Petit, and Kristine says it was a favorite of theirs, as well. “Usually, when you eat a cake, you will get mostly just the sponge cake because of the thick layers. But for us, you can bite in anywhere and it will be good. For other cakes, you’ll have a problem where the sponge is too dry. But for us, the sponge is around a centimeter-and-a-half thick so it is really moist, and the flavor profile, you can get it all throughout. For us, the 17-layer cake is good to share. It’s the experience of having someone and enjoying dessert with them.”
That’s why for their newly opened Workshop at The Grid, they’re bringing two new flavors to their iconic cake: strawberry shortcake and chocolate caramel. They’re already so popular only two weeks in that they always run out the moment they put the cakes on display.
17-Layer Strawberry Shortcake
The flavors and combinations at Workshop Bespoke Bakery are still very familiar, very relatable, far from the grand concepts that Miko and Kristine would concoct in their kitchen. They have pulled out their Pig’s Blood cookie, which they rolled out for a month at Scout’s Honor because it was still too intimidating for the market. But they are hoping that in the coming months and years, they can slowly start introducing these newer concepts and flavors to the market.
“At first, when you hear eccentric ingredients like pig’s blood, it sounds scary. But really, it’s how you manipulate the flavors. That’s one thing we are hoping, that eventually, the Filipino market will be ready for newer flavors to experiment on. Because we have so many good products here in the Philippines,” Kristine says.
“With the menu that we have now at Workshop, we are still growing, like a sneak peek of what we are bringing in. Eventually, we are going to grow it, put more desserts, put out more inspirations. And with Workshop, really, anything goes.”
Produced by Christina N. Lopez and Grace Libero-Cruz
Photography by Daniel Soriano
Special thanks to Sab Lee
Shot on location at The Grid, 2F Level Expansion, Power Plant Mall, Makati