It’s all about food and wine for this Master Sommelier and restauranteur
Alpana Singh is used to paving the way. At 26 she was the youngest woman to ever be named Master Sommelier, and since then she’s appeared in publications such as Bon Appétit, Wine Spectator and Food & Wine, has penned a book and hosts WTTW-Channel 11’s popular “Check, Please!”
So it makes sense that she’s taking a new approach with her first restaurant, the Boarding House, a River North townhome-style spot that contains a social wine bar on the first floor, a formal restaurant and private dining space upstairs and a late-night cellar on the lower level. While vino is, of course, at the heart of the operation, Singh worked closely with executive chef Christian Gosselin (formerly of Sofitel Hotels) to create a collaborative menu that reflects the extensive and varied flavors of the wine list.
“The food should always come first. For me, the food is the primal craving, then the wine,” Singh says.
Menu items include wine bar classics like a charcuterie plate with Montreal smoked beef and bacon ($16) and a slow-roasted pork belly with creamy mushroom puree, maitake mushrooms and baby haricot verts ($11).
With the Boarding House opening in October, Singh is happily savoring every free Sunday she has left.
Singh rises early to read the New York Times and watch “CBS Sunday Morning.” “It’s just not Sunday without Charles Osgood,” she says.
A self-proclaimed cookbook addict, Singh spends a bit of her day catching up on food magazines and looking through cookbooks to plan for her marathon grocery trip. She loves Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” and anything by Julia Child or Jacques Pepin.
Groceries in tow, Singh and her husband, novelist Charles Blackstone, begin preparing dinner for a rotating group of family and friends, which can take hours.