Alpana Singh knew she wanted to be in the restaurant business since she was a little girl. Growing up in Monterey, California, her father was a professional chef, and her mother, a server. “Truth be told, I don’t know how to do anything else. It’s in my blood,” she says. At the age of 15, she was working in her first restaurant; by 23, she had remarkably landed a sommelier position at Chicago’s four-star gem Everest; and by 26, she became the youngest female to ever pass the Master Sommelier Exam.
Maybe nice guys finish first after all. Because while “second city” Chicago has often fallen short to New York in everything from skyscrapers to baseball games, the Windy City recently grabbed two high-profile events right out of The Big Apple’s grasp.
It isn’t over until the last guest leaves with a bottle of their favorite red or white. And what a night it was when the Women’s Board of the Lyric Opera of Chicago held their 11th triennial Wine Auction in February. The night, hosted in the Ardis Krainik Theatre of the Civic Opera House, welcomed more than 400 guests, who together raised a whopping $1.8 million to benefit the Lyric’s programming.