Meghan Risch

Choose Chicago, the official tourism organization for Chicago and producer of Chicago Restaurant Week, announced today that ticket sales are now open for First Bites Bash, the official kick-off event for the eighth annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Alpana Singh, the award-winning, youngest female to achieve the Master Sommelier distinction and television host, turned restaurateur, will host the highly-anticipated event on Thursday, January 29 at Union Station. A portion of the proceeds generated by ticket sales will benefit Inspiration Corporation.

"Chicago's culinary diversity and its rising reputation as a culinary epicenter has become a prominent element for visitors to Chicago," said Don Welsh, Choose Chicago President and CEO. "We are thrilled with the following that First Bites Bash and Chicago Restaurant Week have garnered and we look forward to delivering another successful experience for locals and visitors."

Sweet and savory tastings from more than 50 of Chicago's most celebrated restaurants and chefs will be featured from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Guests will enjoy tastings from Terlato Wines International and beers from Goose Island Beer Company, as well as spirit/cocktail pairings from CH Distillery and Crafthouse Cocktails. Tickets are available for purchase at for $125 per person.

Singh is a James Beard Foundation Award nominee and owner of The Boarding House in River North. Next month she will open her second restaurant, Seven Lions, an American concept, located on Chicago's iconic Michigan Avenue. Singh first became aware of the work of Inspiration Corporation during her time as the host of Check, Please! when the show featured Inspiration Café.

Inspiration Corporation helps people who are affected by homelessness and poverty to improve their lives and increase self-sufficiency through the provision of social services, employment training and placement, and housing.

"Through their compassion and tireless efforts we see the true power and benevolence of the restaurant community as they assist our fellow Chicagoans who have been affected by homelessness and poverty," said Singh. "Giving a neighbor a second chance and an opportunity improve their lives and become self-sufficient is a cause certainly worth supporting."

First-time participants at First Bites Bash include: Acanto, Ada Street, Artango Bistro, Boarding House, Celeste, Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen, Devon Seafood Grill, Eli's Cheesecake Bakery Café, Fulton Market Kitchen, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Jellyfish, Mariano's, Moto, Parrot Cage Restaurant and Wicker Park Sushi.

Chicago Restaurant Week is a celebration of Chicago's finest culinary talents. This year, locals and visitors have 14 days to experience amazing meals and deals at participating restaurants beginning January 30 through February 12. More than 250 participating restaurants will feature prix fixe lunches for $22 and dinners for $33 and $44, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity. Online reservations will be available beginning mid-December at

First Bites Bash is supported by: 101.9fm THE MIX, Goose Island Beer Company, Lexus, Michigan Avenue Magazine, NBC5 Chicago, OpenTable, Serious Eats, Terlato Wines International.

# # #

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city's unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit Follow @ChooseChicago on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #FirstBites and #CRW.