Junnajet Hurapan, Songkran Thai Kitchen
Junnajet Hurapan - a native of Bangkok, Thailand who moved to New York with his parents at the age of six - represents a major coup for the Houston culinary scene. Chef Junnajet - or "Jett" as he is called by his many friends and fans - impressed several of New York City's top food critics before relocating to the Bayou City.
Jett was initially trained as a Mediterranean chef. He worked 12 years at Isabella before becoming Executive Chef at Park Avalon, and then opened Blue Water Grill and Atlantic Grill. Jett returned to his roots by opening Ruby Foo's where he stayed for one year before taking a two-year hiatus to race cars for Volkswagen America. Jett returned to the kitchen after one race win and many crashes at the West Side location of Rain where he learned to cook modern Thai food. Jett then opened Hue - a French Vietnamese lounge.
In 2002, Jett won the "Best of the Best" Chef Award from Excellent Culinary, now a part of the American Culinary Institute. One year later, Jett met his wife, Jiraporn - who is now pastry chef at Gigi's - after hiring her to be a dumpling maker at Quake.
Jett came to Houston in 2007 following a 1-year stint at a Buddakan concept in Atlantic City. Even though he originally came to Houston as a consultant, he was hooked after observing Huang's operations at Hunan Post Oak and Hunan Downtown. Since taking over the kitchen at Gigi's, Jett's inclusive Modern Asian menu - which is authentic, not fusion - has garnered rave reviews from all corners