Yesterday I attended a beautiful memorial service for Nikos Tsiaxiras, one of the owners featured in my book. Unfortunately, Nikos passed away suddenly on April 14, 2016. My heart broke at hearing this news. Too young, too soon. My heart goes out to his wife, Natasja, and their four children. In this difficult time, I cannot even imagine what they are going through and send my sincerest condolences.
At the memorial yesterday, we had a chance to say goodbye. I heard many stories, about who he was as a husband, father, businessman, and friend… He touched so many lives, whether through his warm smile, delicious food, or beautiful music. His life was a composition of many notes, coming together in perfect harmony.
About two years ago, I met Nikos when I was conducting interviews for my book. Based on the recommendation from a contact of mine, I approached him, asking if he’d be interested in sharing his story. He loved the idea and happily agreed. Together with Natasja, we spent hours together, recounting childhood memories, discussing (and trying to find the English translation for) family recipes, describing his life-long love affair with food, and his deep affection for his family. We combed over old photographs, re-living special moments. Nikos’ smile and laugh are imprinted in my mind, from the times when he was telling me his tales. I can just see his eyes light up.
I didn’t know him that long, but I felt like we knew each other forever. I had this special connection with Nikos and Natasja; they welcomed me with open arms. I feel so incredibly honored that I was able to tell Nikos’ story. I consider myself lucky to have met this kind and caring man. He’s touched so many lives, in countless ways, and he has impacted mine, as well.
Thank you, Nikos, for inspiring me. You will always be remembered. Rest in peace.
All photos courtesy of Nikos and Natasja Tsiaxiras.