About Charmaine

Charmaine Solomon OAM (born 31 August 1930) is the author of 31 cookbooks and the creator of her own brand of spice blends and marinades. 
The Sydney Morning Herald had called her "the queen of Asian cooking in Australia" and part of "the holy trinity of cookbook authors". She is named in Who's Who in Australia and credited by various commentators with introducing Asian food to Australian households. Her 1976 cookbook The Complete Asian Cookbook has sold over one million copies in five languages and is regarded as one of Australia's most influential cookbooks.

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Burgher parents. At 18 years of age Charmaine became assistant to the editor of the women's pages of the Ceylon Daily News, an English language paper. She interviewed royalty, film stars, movie directors and authors and covered social events. Reminiscing in an interview with Anne Lim, reporter for The Australian, in 2008, Charmaine recalls:

"At 19 I got a job as a reporter on the Ceylon Daily News. One day the women's page editor said she wanted me to do a cookery column. I said, "But I can't cook!" and she replied, "Well, you'd better learn then." So I started a food column called Oceans of Notions. It was very popular."

In 1956 Charmaine married Rangoon-born musician Reuben Kelly Solomon and they had two daughters before moving to Australia in 1959. She taught herself to cook in part to calm her fears of being alone in the house with two small children in an unfamiliar country while Reuben worked late nights as a musician. In 1964 she won second place in the Woman's Day 'Butter White Wings Bake Off' and attracted the attention of cookbook author Margaret Fulton, who invited her to join Woman's Day as a food writer. She worked at the magazine for 11 years, including three as food editor, then became cookery editor of Belle magazine. She was a regular columnist for the Sun-Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald and was food editor of Family Circle magazine for three years. Her first book, 'The South East Asian Cookbook', was published in 1972. Her third book, The Complete Asian Cookbook, (1976), is arguably her most famous work. Over the next three decades she wrote 29 more books, including the awarded, "Encyclopedia of Asian Food".