Charmaine Ramalope-Makhubela’s is the face of GlamFoodie – an upscale food event planning company that caters for lovers of fine food and wine.

Charmaine’s culinary adventure began after quitting her job in IT. She had grown tired of the ordinary, day-to-day work cycle and wanted to pursue a career that excited her. Her true purpose in life was food and she decided to follow her heart and make a career out of cooking.

Her leap of faith wasn’t a half-baked idea. It just so happened that the foodie revolution was taking off and Charmaine saw this as the perfect opportunity to stake her claim in the culinary world. “I saw the rise of the foodie as a fascinating and disruptive movement that enabled anyone with a passion for food to make it in the industry. I didn’t have a formal qualification from a culinary school, but I believed that, because I could take a classic recipe and give it my own twist, I could offer something completely different from other foodies,” says Charmaine.

It was also during this time that her grandmother passed away. Having been raised by her single mother and grandmother, her untimely death came as a major blow. Charmaine had a soft spot for her grandmother – she was her greatest influence and inspired her love for all things fine. Her family had lost its matriarch, but her legacy of living life to fullest lived on and only motivated Charmaine more: “My grandmother’s passing was a big turning point for me. It made me realise that life is short and every moment should be appreciated. I was about to turn 30 at the time and I remember thinking I couldn’t continue living a life without true purpose,” says Charmaine.

Charmaine set out on her culinary journey with zero start-up capital, infrastructure or industry connections. She had to build her business from scratch. But it was the traditional recipes and homemade dishes passed down from her grandmother that would shape her career. “I fell in love with how my grandmother was able to take classic recipes and give them her own twist using humble ingredients, which made her meals extra special. She not only introduced me to traditional African dishes, but through the many cookbooks and recipes, I also got to experience an array of different cuisines,” says Charmaine.

Charmaine started developing her own recipes and creating content on her GlamFoodie blog to showcase her flair and passion for conscious eating. She soon started making a name for herself by scooping a host of cooking competitions including the NutriDay Breakfast Party Recipe Challenge and the Freshpak #MySummerIcedTea recipe competition.

Charmaine became one of the first South African foodies to turn a passion for food into a profitable business through GlamFoodie WINE&DINE – a monthly fine dining platform celebrates haute cuisine, luxury wine and spirit brands. It afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with highly acclaimed chefs and led her to host a cooking show on VIVA Nation TV, as well as being selected among eight contestants to compete in the very first The Tastemaster SA reality cooking show.