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Hello, Suomi! Working in Finland: French bistro owner loves running his restaurant full of life

Chris Gouriou has lived in Finland for 17 years. He has a Finnish wife and first they lived together in France until his wife returned to Finland for work. Chris lived in France for three years, until living in two countries started to feel too difficult and he came to Finland. Chris has worked in the restaurant industry all his life and right after arriving in Finland he got a job in a restaurant, where he mainly worked as a waiter. Little by little, the idea of owning a restaurant began to sprout and he opened a French wine bistro in Joensuu. He wanted to establish a restaurant full of life. Socializing, good wine, snacks, jazz, and old school music. That is what Rouge Bar & Bistro is all about.

The biggest challenge?

The restaurant culture, because in France we eat lunch for an hour or two, drink a glass of wine and return to work. Here the lunch break is 30 minutes. It was hard to get used to it at first.

The best thing at work?

For me, work doesn’t feel like work, but rather like a lifestyle. The best thing about work is that I can chat with people all day long and listen to good music. The best day is when customers leave the bistro with a big smile on their face.

I bring to the work community…

I think of my restaurant staff as a big family. I never judge a new employee by CV or school certificate, but by feeling. If a person makes a good impression, I hire him, regardless of the background and experience. I learnt this from my boss in France.

Your favourite French taste?

I’m a wine person, so my favorite combination is a bottle of good wine and a cheese plate. When I was young, my mother cooked rabbit with cream, mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. It was my favourite meal.

What is the strangest Finnish food?

I once ate cabbage rolls during lunch and thought they were horrible. Then I went to the cabin with a friend, and he told me on the way that grandma would make us cabbage rolls. I thought oh no, but they were incredibly good. So, from then on, I’ve loved cabbage rolls. I’ve tried mämmi once and that was enough. I simply cannot eat it. Otherwise, I like any well made Finnish food.

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FURTHER READING: Hello, Suomi! Working in Finland: Oscar Eduardo Vera de la Rosa runs a Mexican restaurant in Oulu


Chris Gouriou

  • Restaurateur
  • Workplace Rouge Bar & Bistro, Joensuu
  • Born in France

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