Selena Gomez busts out her cooking chops in the new HBO Max series Selena + Chef. From perfecting French omelettes to undercooking cheese soufflés, the singer said that testing her culinary skills helped get her out of the quarantine rut.
“I was definitely getting down and a lot is going on,” the singer said during HBO’s virtual CTAM session on Wednesday. “[The show] was an opportunity to make something that could make people smile.”
The Dolittle star, joined by producer Aaron Saidman and chef Antonia Lofaso, shared that her first unscripted series afforded her the skills and confidence to take on challenging dishes. While some of the show’s featured recipes, including one for a spicy miso ramen, have become staples for the singer, Gomez said she intends on staying away from others.
“I really, really didn’t like that. It’s a whole process never doing again in my life,” Gomez said of a challenging octopus dish featured in the trailer above.
The 10-episode series, which comes to HBO Max on August 13, was filmed remotely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Gomez and Saidman shared. The Wizards of Waverly Place actress, who has been quarantining with friends and family, detailed the “strange” process of shooting the series remotely in her new home.
Crew members, who were regularly tested for the virus, received temperature checks upon arrival and wore face coverings at all times; did not come in contact with Gomez and those who quarantined with the singer, Saidman said. Instead, they operated remote cameras, rigged in the singer’s living room and kitchen, from outside.
“There was no one in my house but here are these cameras everywhere,” the singer said motioning to her ceiling. “That’s so crazy it comes out so well. It comes out like a normal cooking show but also very odd because everyone is outside everywhere.”
Lofaso, who is one of the handful of guest chefs appearing on the Gomez-fronted show, shared some Iron Chef wisdom for viewers who are spending more time fixing meals in the kitchen, as Gomez has, thanks to the pandemic.
“You need to cook everyday,” she said. “The more you cook, the better you’re going to get at it.”
Culinary experts Angelo Sosa, Candice Kumai, Daniel Holzman, and Ludo Lefebvre are also slated to instruct Gomez in the new series. Additional chefs include Nancy Silverton, Nyesha Arrington, Roy Choi, Jon & Vinny and Tanya Holland.
Selena + Chef is executive produced by Gomez via her July Moon Productions. Saidman, Leah Hariton and Eli Holzman also executive produce for Industrial Media’s The Intellectual Property Corporation.