Viviane Daaboul-Kallio


Oh my God, how lucky I am to get to live in Helsinki!

It was a dark and cold winter when Viviane Daaboul-Kallio came to Helsinki from Lebanon in 1986. The sun and warmth stayed far behind in Beirut, but so did the war. Daaboul-Kallio was 18 years old and her new home country made her depressed and anxious. People did not smile and the streets were empty. But nowadays, in 2019, the founder of the famed Lebanese restaurant Farouge and a star of Helsinki's restaurant scene could not think of a better place to live. 

"It's a dramatic love story. Helsinki was first a shock to me, but now through work my love for the city has grown immensely. I'm like an ambassador, I keep telling people how much I love Finland and Helsinki." 

Daaboul-Kallio has always lived in the city's downtown streets, in Töölö and Ullanlinna. The reason is a very practical one: wonderful places to live are not limited to the city centre. "I have always thought that I want to be able to walk to work. Especially when my kids were small, it was important that I could pick them up easily from daycare, make an evening meal, let the babysitter in and go back to the restaurant."

To balance the intensive and highly social atmosphere at work, Daaboul-Kallio enjoys daily walks around Kaivopuisto and the city's shoreline. Day or night, hail storm or sunshine, she always makes it a habit to stop and admire the sea. “It is my joy, a pinch of the happiness of living here. I will never grow tired of the beauty of Helsinki." 

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