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Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop
16 August 2023
Happy birthday Inari!
On the occasion of the Arles-based restaurant Inari's first anniversary, GiftShop has teamed up with chef Céline Pham to craft an incredibly limited edition product. Through a brief conversation, Céline delves into the Inari adventure and unveils the inspiration behind this debut t-shirt, rich with cherished family memories.

Could you please introduce yourself?
I'm Céline Pham, the chef and owner of Inari restaurant in Arles, which has been open for a year now. Inari is nestled next to a classic Provençal market, which is why I would describe my cuisine as a reflection of the market, utilizing the finest seasonal produce available. Although I'm not originally from the region, I'm discovering a whole new terroir with fruits and vegetables that change from week to week.

© Ilya Kagan

Why did you choose to settle in Arles?
I experienced a romantic attraction to this place while I was working as a resident at Drum Café in Luma Arles. The following year, Chef Armand Arnal from La Chassagnette introduced me to this 13th-century former chapel with its intersecting vaults, and once again, it was love at first sight. I immediately recognized the potential of this unique location, a potential I could never have imagined in Paris. I feel an incredible energy in this space; I got chills during my first visit. Despite being a chef without any specific ties for the past seven years, I wasn't actively searching for a restaurant or considering settling in Arles. However, this life project emerged from two moments of inspiration.

"For this Inari t-shirt, I wanted to pay homage to my grandmother."

To celebrate Inari's first anniversary, you reached out to us for a collaboration on a product. What's the concept behind this t-shirt?
Creating Inari merchandise was always on my mind, and we explored various avenues. We considered reaching out to graphic designer friends, artists... There are countless possibilities in merchandising. Yet, one day, I stumbled upon a photo of my grandmother and me as a child on the porch of our small house in Montigny-Lès-Cormeilles, where I grew up. The image flooded me with memories, predominantly of her but also of the surroundings. I felt as if I was stepping into the photo, traveling back in time, and nearly touching the textures. I had this childlike connection with her. I could see myself again, watching her cook, seated at the end of her table, the radio playing in the background. As I didn't eat at the cafeteria, she prepared my meals every day. The photo triggered a powerful memory. That's why, for this Inari t-shirt, I decided to pay tribute to my grandmother.

This photo is also displayed on the facade of Inari, isn't it?
Indeed. One day, an artist placed a framed photo on the facade. Subsequently, someone painted it white. To my surprise, my partner Agathe stuck the photo you now see on the back of the t-shirt. I now sense her presence every day at Inari.

"A profoundly sentimental t-shirt."

It seems like cooking runs in your family.
Yes, my mother is also a major source of inspiration. Reflecting on the past year and everything my team and I have accomplished, including taking a giant leap into the unknown, I wanted to honor my family. In Vietnamese culture, we deeply revere our ancestors, as evidenced by the altar we dedicate to departed family members. Unknowingly, I recreated this altar tradition by embedding this photo into the walls of my restaurant.

Is your partner also involved in designing this t-shirt?
Absolutely. It was my partner, Agathe, who designed the Inari typography that you see alongside our logo. It's a profoundly sentimental t-shirt. The bar has been set high, and I'm going to have quite a challenge coming up with an idea for the second one!
Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop
Inari x GiftShop

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