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Alpana Singh

Master Sommelier; Host of Emmy Award-winning show Check, Please!; Restauranteur
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The youngest woman and the only South Asian-American ever to earn the title of Master Sommelier, Alpana Singh shares stories and insights from her trailblazing career.

From her humble beginnings as the daughter of Fijian-Indian immigrant parents to becoming a Master Sommelier, restauranteur, and host of a multi-Emmy Award-winning TV show, Alpana Singh has had an extraordinary career. Born and raised in Monterey, California, Alpana’s strong work ethic and ease with people of all ages stemmed from a youth spent working in her family’s ethnic grocery store. Later, while waiting tables in college, she fell in love with wine and discovered that it united her varied interests in traveling, history and food. At 23, she landed the Sommelier role at the world-renowned Everest restaurant in Chicago. At 26, she beat the odds and achieved her goal of becoming a Master Sommelier—an exam which only 3% of its applicants pass.

This distinguished accomplishment, along with her effervescence, experience and energy, was magnetic, and it wasn’t long before Alpana found herself in the local spotlight. For ten seasons, she served as the host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show, Check, Please! on Chicago’s PBS station, and returned in 2018 after a 5-year absence. Along the way, she opened several successful restaurants, including the latest, Alpana, in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast neighborhood.

Alpana shares the inspiring story of her journey to become a successful entrepreneur and television personality, all while navigating a male-dominated profession. She teaches audiences how to taste wines “blind,” purchase bottles like a professional, and pair with meals for any occasion, and she also provides invaluable advice garnered from her career, such as how companies can recognize, cultivate and retain talent in today’s competitive job market.

Alpana has received several awards, including the “Sommelier of the Year” Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast magazine. She is the author of Alpana Pours, a unique lifestyle book that shares her social observations of wine, contemporary women and relationships. 

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