Debbie Matenopoulos, the longtime co-host of the “Home & Family” show on the Hallmark Channel, spoke with Greek Reporter recently about her popular show, her new cookbook, and her Greek heritage.
For almost two decades, this five-time Emmy-nominated TV personality has successfully sustained her career as a journalist, talk show host, lifestyle expert, and best-selling cookbook author. She is one of the most recognized and respected personalities on daytime television today.
“It really was an honor to be nominated all of those times since you are amongst your peers,” she said of her Emmy nominations. “Just to see the categories I am in is quite amazing.”
Matenopoulos is the co-host of Home & Family alongside Cameron Mathison. “Home & Family has been amazing. Cameron and I love working together,” she says. “I feel like my entire career has led me here. I definitely feel that everything I’ve done, I have done to get to where I am today with Home & Family. It’s the favorite show I’ve ever done,” she tells Greek Reporter with pride.
“Home & Family has kindness and warmth to it. It’s very welcoming and extremely family-friendly. It is such a wonderful and heartwarming show,” she adds. “Our main goal is to spread goodness and sunshine. You can turn our show on and you can relax for a little.”
Matenopoulos’ cookbook, “It’s All Greek to Me,” available in stores and on Amazon. This compilation of cherished family recipes was inspired by the loss of her father from ALS seven years ago. “It was so devastating,” she remembers. “I went home from Los Angeles to Virginia to be with him and to take care of him with my mother. It was such a beautiful experience to be there for him.”
The television personality subsequently decided to write her first cookbook in his honor because she wanted him to be proud of her — but another impetus was to raise proceeds to help the ALS Foundation in an effort to help find a cure.
“I went to Greece and I got all the family recipes from my parents and family there, as well as some neighbors there, and I compiled this cookbook,” she recalls. “This cookbook was like a love letter to my country, Greece,” she says, before adding that she is in fact in the middle of writing another cookbook.
Matenopoulos shared that both of her parents are from Xanthi, Greece. “I am the first in the whole family to be born in the United States, and I wanted to visit Greece more than my older siblings,” she says with a sweet laugh. “I am so proud to be of Greek origin.”
She also excitedly revealed to Greek Reporter that she will be launching a new Greek skincare line called “Ikaria,” which will incorporate Greek olive oil, Greek honey, and other all-natural Greek ingredients.
Asked about her ethnic ties here in the United States, she remarked, “I love our Greek-American community. It is so welcoming and it feels like a huge, extended family. They celebrate all of your successes, and that’s really nice. They are constantly helping their other fellow Greeks succeed as well.”
Asked to define the word “success,” Matenopoulos says “having the love of my family and for all of them to be happy and healthy… peace of mind.”