Inspiring Women: Christina Xenos


HPW’s Inspiring Women series profiles remarkable Greek-American professional women whose stories of success inspire and encourage us to achieve our own career goals and aspirations.


Cookbook author, recipe developer, professional chef and journalist

Christina Xenos is a professional chef, cookbook author, recipe developer, and a journalist based in Los Angeles, California.  Her company, Sweet Greek Personal Chef Services, tantalizes palates throughout the city with full culinary services, in-person and virtual cooking classes, and Greek-themed pop-up dining experiences, which have been featured in Food & Wine magazine among other media outlets.

Christina is the co-author of Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook: Modern Mediterranean Recipes for Living the Good Life (Rockridge Press, Nov. 2017), a collection of 90 Greek recipes, which offers a creative new voice in the cannon of Greek cooking. Saffron, her second cookbook collaboration explores recipes and cultivation of the precious spice in Kozani, Greece. She has also worked with brands like MorningStar Farms, Athens Foods, Ninja, Russell Stover Chocolates, and Thermomix to collaborate and develop recipes around their product lines.

Her goal is not only to create delicious food for you, but also to teach you how to feed yourself and your family. You can find some of her most popular cooking videos and cooking inspiration on her website, or @xtinaxenos on instagram. She has also recently appeared in Greek food segments on The Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction and NBC’s A New Leaf.

Contributor:  Frederica Bolgouras

What is your passion?

My passion is not only to cook wonderful meals for my clients and my family, but also to empower people to nourish themselves. I think anyone can cook; they just need the tools and a roadmap to do it. If I can help them achieve that through one of my online videos or through a cooking class, it’s super rewarding. I love sharing/cooking Greek recipes, and the creativity of cooking, baking, and entertaining. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal with a house full of people. 

What motivated you to pursue a career as a Professional Chef and Cookbook Author?

I’ve always loved cooking and eating, and was always inspired by the traditional Greek dishes my yiayias made for us. When I was about two or three years old, my yiayia sent me out to pick grape leaves off the fence in her backyard so we could make dolmathes together. I’ve been hooked on cooking ever since. And even though my first career was as a journalist and editor, I eventually found a path to cooking professionally, launching my personal chef company in 2016, and co-authoring Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook on the heels of that.

Who has inspired you the most in your life? 

I feel really lucky to have had so many strong female role models in my life. My yiayia Chrysanthe Xenos immigrated to the U.S. from Crete in the early 1920s pretty much on her own. When I return to her village outside of Chania, I think about what a crazy journey that must have been for her. My yiayia Polly Haggis piloted Piper Club airplanes, and was the first female president of a university flying club when she attended Wayne State University. My mother-in-law Georgia Lyras is also a Greek chef who authored a handful of Greek cookbooks, which directly inspire my own recipes.

Tell us about a few of your most proud accomplishments / What Impact has your Greek heritage had on your aspiring career? 

It’s really important for me to share my passion for Greek gastronomy with my community. I’m happy to have been able to do that with the two cookbooks that I’ve co-authored: Opa! The Healthy Greek Cookbook, and Saffron, which explores saffron recipes and the farming/harvesting practices of it in Kozani, Greece. I’ve also been able to highlight Greek food and recipes on the Cooking Channel in an episode of Food: Fact or Fiction?, and on NBC during an episode of A New Leaf where I demonstrated my Spanakopita recipe.

I’ve also had the honor of cooking with Argiro Barbarigou at the James Beard House in New York, celebrating the food and wine of the southern Aegean Islands.

In 2023 I’ll be going back to my family roots in Crete to lead a food and wine focused tour with a wonderful company called Modern Adventure. The week will be a full immersion into Cretan culinary culture filled with winery visits, cooking classes, food tours, and so much more.

Tell us about your participation in the Greek community in California.

Greek festivals have been so important to me throughout my life. When I was little, my mother used to take me down to our church in Dayton, Ohio so I could help make all the food for the festival. That’s where I learned how to make spanakopita, tiropita, koulourakia, kourambiedes, tsoureki, etc. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2005, volunteering at St. Sophia’s Greek festival was one of the first things I did. It’s been wonderful to be involved over the years, whether it’s working at one of the food booths, or leading cooking demonstrations.

I also initially started cooking for people professionally by throwing Greek-themed pop-up dinners. These events would draw all kinds of people, but especially those of Greek descent looking for an authentic gastronomical experience. Once COVID subsides, I’ll start those up again, and already have a Greek Island-themed dinner in the works.

Given the COVID pandemic, how are you handling the stress this has caused and which wellness/coping exercises and mechanisms would you recommend? How about healthy comfort foods? 

It’s definitely been a wild ride with COVID these last few years. I feel grateful to have been steadily cooking for people who are too busy or exhausted to cook for themselves. As far as boosting mental health in general, I try to get out and walk as much as possible, and practice gratitude and mindfulness — but I’ve mostly coped by cooking and developing new recipes. There’s really nothing more comforting than a pie. I think Spanakopita is one of my favorite comfort foods, along with Kotopita, and Bougatsa. Now that it’s colder I make Avgolemono Soup with chicken and barley regularly.

Given young Hellenic Professional Women who would like to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give to them? 

I think it’s really important to be tenacious and driven when you’re trying to achieve a goal. Visualize it, break out the steps to lead you to it, and work on it constantly. At the same time you should also enjoy the road you’re on when you’re working to achieve that goal. Most things don’t happen overnight. I think everything I’ve worked on professionally in the last 20 years has lead me to where I am now, and I’ve really enjoyed the ride. 

Who has inspired you in your career? Let us know at