Alpana Singh steps out from the cellar to lead new restaurant

May 7, 2012

Carrie Shepherd and Miles Doornbos

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A correction has been added to this post.

Foodies and casual diners alike probably know Alpana Singh. Singh has been the longtime host of the popular restaurant review show Check, Please! on WTTW/Channel 11. The show, of course, features three local diners reviewing their favorite spots in and around Chicago. It's not all about the food; there's also talk about the drinks, something Singh knows well. Her commentary is not just coming from an avid drinker-Singh is a bona fide expert. At 26, she earned the distinction of being the youngest woman to reach master sommelier status. Singh came to Chicago and put her credentials to work at fine dining restaurant Everest, where she served as sommelier for five years.

Now, Singh is ready to come out from the bar and try her hand as restaurateur. Her new venture The Boarding House, expected to open this summer, is a 5-floor extravaganza, including a wine bar that will serve shareable plates, a space for private parties and-what else-a first floor wine cellar. Singh and her partners have tapped Christian Gosselin, most recently at the Café des Architectes in the Sofitel Hotel, to take the lead in the kitchen.

So will we see The Boarding House as a roundtable review on Check, Please! anytime soon? Probably not considering the conflict of interest, but it may be fair game in a couple of years if Singh isn't in the host chair. She says she's signed on to host the show for one more season and will make a decision at the end of that seeason if she will continue on the show.

Alpana Singh joins Steve Edwards Monday on Afternoon Shift to share some details on her new venture and talk about her own adventures in drinking and eating.

Correction: An earlier version misstated Singh's future on Check, Please! She will decide after next season whether she will continue hosting the show. It also said that The Boarding House will serve small plates but the wine bar will actually serve plates for patrons to share.