Since learning how to cook in her grandmother’s neighborhood restaurant in Central Thailand, Benchawan Jabthong Painter has been a natural chef. After marrying her husband Graham, Painter moved to Houston in 2015 and jumped into the city’s food scene, bringing her deep knowledge of Thai cuisine to restaurants like Saltair and Theodore Rex. In 2020, the Painters opened Street to Kitchen, which features all-scratch-made Thai foods rooted in her grandmother’s recipes and techniques. Their second restaurant in collaboration with Chef David Skinner, The Preserve at Eculent, will open in 2023 in Kemah, Texas. Painter is a finalist for the 2023 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Texas award.