Proprietor / Master Sommelier
Born and raised in Monterey, California, Alpana Singh’s strong work ethic and ease with people of all ages stemmed from a youth spent working in her family’s ethnic grocery store. Later, while waiting tables in college, Singh fell in love with wine and discovered that it united her varied interests in traveling, history and food.
At 19, she pursued a path in the business with a job as a wine sales clerk at Nielsen Bros. Market in Carmel, California. By 23, she had landed the sommelier position at the world-renowned Everest Restaurant in Chicago. Just three years later at the age of 26, Singh went on to become the youngest woman ever to pass the final level of the Master Sommelier exam which has a pass rate of 3%. There are 149 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 125 are men and 24 are women.
This distinguished accomplishment, along with her effervescence, experience and energy, was magnetic, and it wasn’t long before Singh found herself in the local spotlight. For ten seasons, she served as the host of the Emmy Award-winning restaurant review television show, Check, Please!, on Chicago’s PBS station.
In December 2012, Singh opened The Boarding House, a wine-driven concept in the River North neighborhood. In February of 2015, Singh opened her second restaurant, Seven Lions, on Chicago’s iconic Michigan Avenue. In 2016, Alpana announced her third restaurant venture, Terra & Vine, in Evanston, Illinois.
Singh is a member of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors and on the Advisory Council for the Illinois Restaurant Association. She played a significant role in bringing the James Beard Foundation Awards to the city of Chicago in 2015 and is an avid supporter of Deborah’s Place, an organization that assists and empowers women facing homelessness.
Chicago native Phil Rubino is influenced not only by his own experience as a chef over the last 10 years, but also a personal history in which cooking is one of the main ingredients. Phil’s father, who was a baker in Italy before immigrating to Chicago, took over the family-run bakery, where Phil worked and assisted from a very young age. After high school, Phil attended culinary school at Illinois Institute of Art and was soon doing stages around Chicago. This led him to the acclaimed BIN 36, where he started as a line cook in 2005 and worked his way up to Sous Chef by 2007. After taking a position at Spiaggia, Phil partnered again with the BIN 36 team as a sous chef at A Mano. In 2008, he worked with Executive Chef Laurent Gras at L2O, where he played an instrumental role in helping the restaurant achieve three Michelin stars. Phil continued honing his skills at BIN Wine Café, Café des Architects, Acadia and as Executive Chef at Moderno. In 2013, he was recognized as a Rising Star Chef nominee by Jean Banchet’s awards for culinary excellence, and was also part of the high profile chef team at Chicago’s acclaimed Italian restaurant, Cicchetti, alongside Sarah Jordan and Michael Sheerin. Joining The Boarding House in 2017, Rubino now brings his clean, focused approach to our wine-centric menu.
General Manager & Maitre d’
Matthew Sheridan was born and raised in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and worked in fashion production, but his true calling was the restaurant business. He lived in New York for ten years, working at Le Pere Pinard, Balaboosta and Olea – restaurants specializing in Mediterranean fare and European wine programs. He then returned to Chicago and worked at Vermilion restaurant until meeting Matt Fisher at Eve. He began as a server and was quickly promoted to event planner, Maitre d’ and Manager. Matthew continually seeks new ways to exceed customer expectations by developing guest recognition techniques and ideas culled from his extensive travels, which include tours in Europe, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Israel, Jordan, India, Thailand, Cambodia, South Africa, and Hong Kong.
Sommelier & Beverage Director
Proud son of Edmonds, WA, a charming hamlet located on the outskirts of Seattle, Patrick developed a love of dining out from an early age. “I always loved sitting in the middle of a dining room enveloped by the pachanga; or sound of the party. Before my first trip abroad I dined out with close friends and knew wholeheartedly that I was jumping into the restaurant game when I returned. That was 20 years ago.” In 2003 Patrick was recruited to work for Seattle Chef William Belickis at his nationally acclaimed restaurant, Mistral. In a time before Michelin stars were being awarded in the United States, Mistral was one of seven restaurants in the country to be awarded a food score of 29 (out of a possible 30) and did so for four years running. “Working there was a sea change in my career. I had a talented chef as a mentor whose father was in the wine business and I was exposed to smells, flavors and textures that I had no frame of reference for.
In 2007 Patrick moved to Chicago for a year working at MK and opening Graham Elliot before accepting the GM/Wine Director role for his mentor’s new concept in Seattle. “After 2 1/2 years of leading and developing my staff I found I missed Chicago so I liquidated anything that wouldn’t fit in my car and drove back.” Soon after, Patrick was brought on as part of the opening sommelier team at The Boarding House where he has been a stalwart ever since. During that time he has attained level I & II sommelier certifications from The Court of Master Sommeliers and is also BarSmarts certified. Patrick is currently pursuing his Cicerone certification.
In his off-time Patrick enjoys studying history, live theatre, dining out, drinking “session wines” with friends and globetrotting. His travels have taken him to Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland the Czech Republic, Poland, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and most recently, Turkey. Patrick still considers Seattle home but has a full-blown love affair with Chicago. “The weather can be cold but the people are certainly warm.”