Selena Gomez heads to kitchen for new HBO Max series

Rick's Reviews

Selena Gomez looks to improve her cooking skills with “Selena + Chef.” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Selena Gomez has been dealing with staying away from others during the quarantine by spending more time in the kitchen of her new home. She’s getting some help in improving the culinary skills she has through her new series “Selena + Chef” that will be on the HBO Max streaming service starting Aug. 13.

The launch of the program should not come as a surprise to her millions of online followers as Gomez has often posted images of herself in the kitchen. Here’s the big difference. The cooking she’s doing for the series is a lot different than when she’s just hanging out with friends because she is working with world-renowned chefs.

Those who will be guiding Gomez in the kitchen during the first 10-episode season include Angelo Sosa, Antonia Lofaso, Candice Kumai, Daniel Holzman, Jon & Vinny, Ludo Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton, Nyesha Arrington, Roy Choi, and Tonya Holland.

She calls working with them intimidating but “super fun.”

“Everybody was so great and I enjoy connecting with people this way.  I think that’s one of my favorite parts of my job. You step on a film set and you’re meeting incredible people, and then you’re in music working with incredible people,” Gomez says. “And now, being able to get some of the greatest chefs onboard with this it just came together.

“I think it was something people should enjoy and be lighthearted and take an escape.”

The show has been produced in the era of social distancing. Gomez is joined remotely each episode with a different master chef where they tackle cuisines of every variety, share cooking tips and tricks and deal with everything from smoking ovens to missing ingredients. Each episode will highlight a food-related charity and will embrace both the struggle and the joy of learning to cook.

There will be a couple of items Gomez won’t be cooking. She laughs and says that while she makes “a killer PBJ,” when she’s making a meal for people she wants to impress, she feels comfortable making miso soup. And, when it comes to comfort foods, nothing is better to Gomez than her grandmother’s chicken and dumplings.

She did tackle cooking octopus in one of the episodes and found that to be the most difficult food challenge. Gomez didn’t like the dish at all and proclaims she would be happy never cooking octopus again in her life.

Gomez is not taking the COVID-19 shutdown sitting down. Along with the new HBO MAX series, she has just signed to star in and executive produce the Hulu production “Only Murders in the Building.” The cast also will include Steve Martin and Martin Short. The series follows three strangers (Martin, Short and Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one.

The new projects add to the credits for the Texas native as she has already appeared in such movies as “The Big Short,” “Spring Breakers,” “Dolittle” and “Fundmentals of Caring.” Past TV projects include “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “The Muppets.”

She has found as much success with music. Earlier this year, Gomez released her critically-acclaimed album RARE which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, her third consecutive studio album to debut atop the chart. The first single, “Lose You To Love Me,” gave Gomez her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. As a solo artist, Gomez has accumulated over 22 billion global streams.

Whether it be acting, singing or cooking, Gomez gives the same amount of energy to each project.

“I think that I equally pay as much attention as I can to each individual thing. I’m really, really lucky that I have a lot of things that I get to do.  I don’t do anything I don’t want to, of course, but life gives me so many different challenges.

“I really thought this would be something lighthearted, because I was getting definitely down. So, of course, there’s more important things going on, but this was an opportunity to make something that could make people smile.  I hope they’re going to laugh because I look like a fool, and just enjoy.”

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