What's the hottest trend in TV cooking shows? Formats pegged to celebrities who actually can't cook -- or who are, at least, culinary challenged.
Count Selena Gomez among them. In "Selena + Chef," a new series coming to HBO Max on Thursday, the pop star and actress attempts to make delicious meals while stuck at home in quarantine and receiving instructions from acclaimed master chefs.
"This was an opportunity to make something that could make people smile," Gomez told journalists recently. "I hope they're going to laugh because I look like a fool. ... I love cooking. I just don't know how to do it all the time."
With her new show, Gomez follows in the footsteps of comedian Amy Schumer, who has her own in-quarantine series -- "Amy Schumer Learns to Cook" -- on the Food Network. But while Schumer receives in-person instruction from her husband, chef Chris Fischer, Gomez takes her lessons remotely from a group of rotating chefs, including Tanya Holland, Angelo Sosa, Antonia Lofaso, Candice Kumai, Daniel Holzman, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Ludo Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton, Nyesha Arrington and Roy Choi.
Together, they tackle cuisines of every variety, share valuable tips and tricks, and deal with everything from smoking ovens to missing ingredients.
Each episode will highlight a food-related charity.
"Having some of the best chefs open up their kitchens to me was a humbling and fun experience," Gomez says. "I definitely discovered I have a lot more to learn."
Executive producer Aaron Saidman pointed out that even though Gomez had experts offering aid, there was no one at her side to bail her out in the kitchen.
"There was something special about the fact that Selena was on her own having to kind of fumble her way through and figure things out," he said.
What were her most challenging endeavors? Well, Gomez "really didn't like" working with octopus. And she had a tough time making a French omelet "because I'm just so used to doing it the American way."
As for her standout specialty?
"I make a killer PB&J."