Cradam was his joy and his life, right up to the end

Cradam was his joy and his life, right up to the end

Michael Nuins.

The Amsterdam Café and Restaurant, or rather Cradam, was his passion and his life to the very end. Shortly before his death, when a brain tumor robbed him of his sense of time long ago, Mike Newgins woke up at night, sometimes at six, sometimes at half past two. Immediately: “Okay, now to work.”

It took his fiancée Esmee van Achteren the greatest effort to stretch it out to nine hours and then he was gone. He puts on a chef’s jacket and chops onions the last thing he can. He hardly had any vision, but chopping onions is something a chef does by feel. Van Achteren: “He just wanted to do something. Not feel like a patient for a few hours.”

On Tuesday 23 May, Nuijens passed away at the age of 35, and last Wednesday was his farewell. Cradam became a sea of ​​flowers.

Michael Nuijens, as his full name was, came from a nest of greengrocers from Kinkerbuurt. His father was in the market like his grandfathers. He grew up in a family with one younger brother. On Saturdays, he helped his father at the Ten Kate market. “He loved it,” says Father Marcel Neugens.

The second house

Nuijens didn’t care much about school. He went from Athens to Hafu to Mafu and after that he didn’t go to school at all. Father Nieugens: “He didn’t know what he wanted and then he entered the Amsterdam Café and Restaurant through a friend.”

He was then nineteen years old. “He couldn’t chop an onion yet,” says Cradam co-owner Melin Hoving.

“I don’t think he’s ever tasted fish before,” says chef and co-owner Ruud van der Slyn.

Nuijens had to find his way around, but it all worked out. Eventually he became sous chef and Cradam became his second home. Literal. Nuijens was there the whole time. She works two hundred hours a month and then goes around for fun, a drink and a cigarette. Late Sunday evening, about eleven, he sat in a cluttered office, looking back at Studio Sport, with bacon on the side. Van der Sleen: “He really lived here.”

Every morning he came to the kitchen: “Good morning, my dears, can we look forward to it again today?”

In an Amsterdam accent that is hard to hear anywhere else. And always messing around, messing around, messing around. Hoving: “Mike was Amsterdam a lot. And yet he was a very focused worker. You didn’t really notice it, because he didn’t sound serious. But Mike could, as he was called, talk and bond at the same time.”

Except when it comes to ajax. He was tense on match days, elated or angry the next. You shouldn’t make fun of Ajax.

comfortable life

In Cradam, he also meets Van Achteren, the manager. They started dating six years ago, the engagement was last summer. In September, Nuijens reported being ill, for the first time in sixteen years. Nuijens was never ill, and was not even registered with a general practitioner anymore.

It turned out to be very wrong. He had a tumor the size of an orange. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, they are no longer allowed to help. But he kept coming to Cradam. Hoving: “Mike really wanted to live a comfortable life and he did it to the end. He really died in the belt.”

Van der Sleen: “On Monday I still got on the phone with him. He wanted to make Madeleine on Wednesday. That Monday night he went to sleep and never got up again.”

Van Achteren: “He was really everyone’s friend. During his funeral I saw the hole he left behind. All these old colleagues, friends from the past, ex-everyone loved him. We all roast him with baku.”

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