Meet the GlamFoodie

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The GlamFoodie

Charmaine Ramalope is a passionate foodie. Recipe developer and wine lover. She’s also known as the Glam Foodie and you can follow her culinary adventures on @GlamFoodieZA. recently caught up with her to find out where her love for food comes from and how she sees the role women.

Tell us more about you, where did you grow up, go to school, family etc?

I was born in Vosloorus, which lies east of Johannesburg. I was raised by my single mom and grandmother. I schooled in Pretoria and later in Boksburg, I matriculated in 2002 from Sunward Park High School. I have a younger brother but was raised with my cousins who I also regard as my siblings. I had a wonderful childhood surrounded by lots of love and support.

Where and when did your love for food start?

I’ve always had a love for food, from as young as I can remember I was always helping out in the kitchen —whether it was with baking or assisting with Sunday lunch preparations. My late grandmother loved to collect cookbooks which exposed me to different cuisines and ways of cooking from a young age which made cooking lots of fun as opposed to it being a chore. One of my favourite things to do was making Cornish pasties from scratch! Yum!

What exactly is glamfoodie all about, how did you come up with the concept?

I started GlamFoodie in 2015 with the aim of showcasing our country’s exciting cuisine, wine culture and also to celebrate our local food heroes. I host GlamFoodie WINE&DINE events where I collaborate with talented chefs and winemakers to create upscale food and wine pairing dinners for wine enthusiasts -I love seeing people come together to enjoy a good meal and learn about wines, the GlamFoodie WINE&DINE events are the perfect social platform for fine dine loving foodies. I’m constantly on the lookout for the latest food trends and passionate about discovering interesting places to eat, I share my experiences on social media for my foodie followers.

What do you love most about your job? Also career highlights?

What I love most about my job is that it doesn’t feel like a job. I have a deep passion for what I do. I come from a very corporate background but I’ve always been a creative at heart (I studied Fine Arts and Information Technology and worked in the IT field before changing my career path). My career highlights — I recently won the NutriDay Breakfast Party Bloggers challenge, where I created a recipe which received the popular public vote. It was quiet exciting competing with some of SA’s top foodie bloggers and influencers and coming on top. Apart from winning the competition, one of my other highlights was when I hosted my first WINE&DINE event alongside South Africa’s first MasterChef Deena Naidoo and collaborating with the award winning Glen Carlou Wine Estate. It was exciting and a notable achievement to have one of my recipes featured in The Sunday Times Food Magazine – I grew up collecting recipes from the newspaper so I was quiet chuffed to see my work featured.

Describe a typical day in your life?

A typical day in my life includes restaurant visits, where I scout for suitable venues and liaise with chefs, sommeliers and wine makers to plan for my WINE&DINE events. When I’m not out and out attending fabulous foodie events and restaurant launches, I spend most of my time working on recipe development and research for my soon-to-launch cookbook. I also create content for a number of food and lifestyle blogs which I contribute for.

What would still like to achieve in your career?

I would like to launch my cookbook and YouTube channel and eventually open my own restaurant. I would love to mentor young girls who are looking to follow in my footsteps. I believe the food and wine industry would benefit from having more dynamic young ladies especially those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds like myself. I’d love to see transformation within the industry and would love to play a part in opening doors for those, who like myself struggled to get a foot in the door.

How do you do to relax, when you are not working or eating?

I relax and unwind by working out, doing a bit of yoga and Pilates — staying in shape makes it easier to indulge on those yummy treats without the guilt, so I make sure I put in the time at the gym. I’m a huge fan of reality TV so you’ll most likely find me catching up on Real Housewives shows and Netflix. I make it a point to travel as often as possible to enrich my experiences and learn more about other people and cultures.

Your advice to anyone who would like to pursue a career in the food industry?

I would advise aspiring chefs and foodies to educate themselves —there are a number of courses that one can enrol in to beef up their knowledge of food, wine and the hospitality industry. Having a mentor in the same industry you’re looking to go into helps as you’ll be able to receive practical career guidance. I’d encourage for them to also remain curious and constantly be on the lookout for latest trends within the culinary industry as this keeps you relevant.

How do you see the role of women in South Africa and the world in 2017? What are some of the challenges and what should be celebrated?

Women have a pivotal role in the development of South Africa. Providing women with equal rights, improved education and empowering them allows to us to contribute positively to the economic, social and political development of our country. We are fortunate to be living in a country which allows every women and girl the same basic rights as men. It’s inspiring to see many women in leadership positions and remain hopeful that the playing field will one day be levelled.

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