Ask A Midwesterner: Alpana Singh, Chicago’s Favorite Master Sommelier

Alpana Singh

A television personality, a master sommelier, and a successful restaurateur are three impressive stand-alone feats. Alpana Singh has accomplished them all. And with a bang, if we may add.

As host of Check, Please!, Singh charmed audiences and directed taste buds to Chicago’s best eats for 10 seasons. As a restaurateur, Singh is the owner of two high-acclaimed restaurants, The Boarding House and Seven Lions, with a third, Terra & Vine, on its way. As a master sommelier, she holds the record as the youngest female to pass the final level of the exam. An exam that includes a section where you must accurately describe six different wines. No, not red versus white or Pinto Grigio versus Pinto Noir. We’re talking grape variety, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintage.

We put the Chicago food and wine star through our 18-question ringer to see where her Midwest roots (and tastes) lie.


Favorite place in the Midwest?
Kohler, Wisconsin


What temperature is considered warm enough for no coat?
65 degrees


Favorite meal to cook?
Some type of braised dish such as Coq au Vin. It makes the house smell amazing, and I love dishes that take time as your appetite builds in anticipation.


What’s a hidden gem in your city?
The running/walking path that curves around the Shedd Aquarium. It affords a breathtaking view of the Chicago Skyline.


Local coffee shop of choice?


Go-to pizza toppings?
Vegetables – spinach, mushrooms, onions and black olives


Soda or Pop?
I grew up on the west coast, so it’s soda for me.


Duck Duck Goose or Duck Duck Grey Duck?
I’m not sure what Duck Duck Grey Duck is, so I’m going with the former.


Favorite condiment?
Ketchup – I know, not very Chicagoan of me!


Favorite local brewery?


Can you name all the ingredients in puppy chow?
I love puppy chow! You can’t stop eating it. I’ve never made it, but I know it has peanut butter, chocolate, powdered sugar and cereal. It’s magical!


How many shovels do you own?
None – I live in a high rise. Well worth paying assessments


Favorite food on a stick?
Corn Dogs! With yellow mustard only – no ketchup.


Skiing or wakeboarding?
Neither – both activities look dangerous and I need my legs.


Signature drink order?
Diet Coke and if it’s from a can, even better. There is a difference!


Mississippi River or Great Lakes?
Great Lakes all the way!


Favorite Midwestern artist?
The Artist Tony Fitzpatrick


Favorite building in the Midwest?
S.R. Crown Hall at The Illinois Institute of Technology. The clean and simplistic lines of Mies van der Rohe is the epitome of less is more. His work throughout Chicago always stops me in my tracks. It’s zen-like perfection.


Featured Images compliments of Jeff Schear

Connect with Alpana
Website: Alpana Singh
Twitter: @alpanasingh
Instagram: @alpanasingh