Top Chef: Mia Gaines-Alt's New Home in Hawaii
Mia Gaines-Alt was a memorable presence on the second season of Top Chef. She brought her love of barbecue and comfort food to the competition, but it was probably her self-elimination in the eighth episode that stands out most for many viewers. She stepped aside in order to give Elia Aboumrad a chance to continue in the competition.

She left the competition, but at least got a free trip to Hawaii out of the bargain. Although she wasn't selected by either Ilan Hall or Marcel Vigneron to assist with the final meal at the Hawaii finale, she still got a life-changing opportunity.

During Mia's time on Top Chef, her bio listed that she had her own restaurant called in Oakdale, CA Feed the People. There have been reports (granted, they are reports on the internet so take them with a whole big chunk of rock salt) that as of August, a Top Chef from a neighboring town noted that the “landlord has place a big foreclose note on the door for lack of paying rent in short he says he is taking the place as being abandon equipment and all. Including the cowboy hat that Mia wore in her photo which sits on top of an empty cash register.”

Whether or not that's the real reason behind the closing of her restaurant, the fact is that Mia has made a major life change. She loved her time on the island so much that she has moved there with her whole entourage of mother, husband and three children.

She found a position at Hotel Molokai through a chef job board, and has already jumped right into the busy schedule of a chef. She's found that her soul food background actually meshes well with Hawaiian. As a local Hawaiin publication points out, “Foods such as oxtails, pigs feet, and sweet potatoes find homes in both Southern and Hawaiian kitchens.”

Mia appears to be happy with the transition, saying “The welcome I received [to Hawaii], was not just like welcome here or welcome to Molokai, or welcome back, but more like welcome home.”

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image courtesy of Bravo)