Selena Gomez’s new show, Selena + Chef premieres tonight on HBO Max. It’s ten episodes, each featuring Selena with a prominent chef, each of them in their respective kitchens, as Selena learns how to cook. And it’s not “learning”, as in someone who already has some basic skills and is trying to get to the next level. Judging from the trailer, Selena’s comfort level in the kitchen is low. She doesn’t cut things smoothly, for example, she doesn’t already have the technique. Which is something I appreciate. Because I cook, and I think I’ve gotten better at cooking, especially now since over the last five months I’ve had nothing to do but work and cook, but I don’t cook on camera – that is, I’m not out there doing the chopping all fast and efficient the way you typically see people at the kitchen island over the cutting board. I am a slow cooker. I’m too busy trying to figure out what to do with the recipe and understanding what certain words mean (cooking vocabulary is a f-cking mystery to me) and whether I have those words in my pantry or my fridge to be able to make cooking look pretty.
Selena is not making cooking look pretty – and that’s part of the draw.
The other part of the draw, if we decide to tune in, is of course Selena herself. Seeing her in her home. What do her utensils look like? According to Variety, professional designers would consider her knives tacky:
“Her knives are a dreamy fairyland iridescent, with teal handles — the sort of kitchen tools an interior designer would never pick out, and ones that suit Gomez’s clean-lined, brick-walled kitchen only in the sense that they are hers.”
These days, since we’re all watching people broadcasting from their homes, there’s a lot of “OMG why is your couch so ugly” going on. I’ve done it and it’s been done to me. Right now my shot for one of the shows I’m on is in front of a cabinet, on which I have two portraits of our dogs, both of them from Christmas. They just sit there year round and some people are all like, God, it’s not Christmas anymore, why don’t you change those photos. Well, now I’m never changing the photos. And besides, it’s not like I don’t love them. I love them so much. They’re so cute. Can’t they be there all year? Can’t Selena have teal-handled knives? What would be the entertainment if her knives weren’t teal, LOL?
The entertainment, for me always where Selena is concerned, is her voice. I love her speaking voice. I could listen to her talk for hours. And I’m curious about what she’ll be saying – since she has to know that people weren’t sitting around hoping for a cooking show with Selena Gomez; people are curious, rather, about Selena Gomez. Over the last few years, Selena has retracted, she’s gone months at a time without posting on social media, staying out of the spotlight, avoiding attention, and trying to reframe her frame. Now we’re being invited into her home, watching her try things she’s unfamiliar with, and while this is certainly curated, whatever candor no doubt tossed (ha!) alongside a heaping portion of flattering and protective editing and production, the promise of moments of intimacy is still there. And it’s fascinating that this is where she’s chosen to direct her career right now.
Also attached - Selena out for dinner last night at Nobu in Malibu
Selena + Chef premieres on HBO Max and in Canada on Crave tonight.