Young Indian-American Sommelier is highlight of gala in Chicago

Debjani Desai, president of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, left, with Alpana Singh, a sommelier who appears on the Emmy Award-winning “Check Please!” at the Sept. 30 gala of the Indo American Center of Chicago. (Photo courtesy IAC)

Alpana Singh, who will be returning as host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show, Check, Please!, on Chicago’s PBS station, was the keynote speaker at the 28th annual dinner of the Chicago-based community support organization, Indo-American Center.

Singh shared the story of her life, coming to the U.S. with her parents, their struggles as immigrants and her career path, as she broke the glass ceiling to become one of the youngest sommeliers at age 26.

The dinner was held at the Chicago Marriott Oak Brook Sept. 30, where some 300 guests had the opportunity to hear Singh, as well as Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois; Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois.

Other invited guests included Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, and State Representative Theresa Mah.

Ravi Baichwal, ABC7 Chicago news anchor, emceed the evening, which included a volunteer award presented to the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, a live auction and pledge drive hosted by comedian AnishA Shah, and dinner from Kama Bistro Restaurant, of  LaGrange.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, left, with U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Illinois, at the 28th annual gala of the Indo American Center in Chicago Sept. 30. (Photo courtesy IAC)

“The event would not have been possible without the generosity of donors and corporate sponsors,” a press release from Indo American Center said. They included Wintrust Bank, The Blackstone Group, CNA Insurance, Astellas Pharma, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Merrill Lynch / Fair, Wauters Group, Mimit Health, Northern Trust and Kaczynski & Associates.

The IAC plans to support its Senior Care program as well as other critical needs of the Center with the funds generated by the event, organizers said.

In addition to the Seniors program, IAC’s other programs are adult literacy, workforce development, immigration and citizenship and civic engagement.

The IAC appealed to all those who may have recently moved to the area or recently became a new citizen, to vote at



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