Born and raised in Monterey, California, it was only natural that Alpana Singh would develop an interest in wine. As the Director of Wine and Spirits for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, her duties include purchasing, beverage program development and wine education. Alpana is currently co-developing Lettuce Wine Cellars, an e-commerce website set to launch in 2011.
Born to Indian parents who moved to California from the Fiji Islands, Singhs family owned an ethnic grocery store in Monterey where she worked at an early age; a life experience that she credits for her present day work ethic and ease with people of all ages. While waiting tables in college, she discovered her love for wine and found that it combined her varied interests of geography, history and food. At the age of 19, Alpana landed her first job in the wine business as a sales clerk at wine store in Carmel, California. In 2000, at the age of 23, Alpana joined Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants as the sommelier for the highly acclaimed Everest Restaurant in Chicago. Three years later, Alpana would go on to pass final level of the Master Sommelier exam.
For the past eight seasons, Alpana has also served as the host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show, Check, Please! which airs weekly in Chicago on the PBS station WTTW Channel 11. She also appears frequently on the station's nightly news program, Chicago Tonight where she answers viewer questions regarding wine and spirits in her segment, Ask Alpana. Nationally, Alpana has appeared on multiple occasions as a guest judge on Food Network's Iron Chef America and in numerous publications including Newsweek, Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit and The New York Times.
When Alpana is not on the hunt for delicious wines for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants or Lettuce Wine Cellars, she enjoys cooking from her vast collection of cookbooks, taking photographs, traveling and spending time with her husband, novelist Charles Blackstone and their much indulged Pug, Haruki Murakami.