Roy Choi reveals what it's really like to teach Selena Gomez how to cook - Exclusive

Singer, songwriter, actress, producer, fashionista – Selena Gomez has juggled many roles since she first emerged on the entertainment scene at age 10, as a recurring character on the kid TV show, Barney (per IMDb). Will chef be the next addition to her resume? While Gomez knows Hollywood like the back of her hand, the People's Choice Awards winner is the first to admit that she doesn't know her way around her own kitchen. "I really love to eat, but I'm not the best cook," she explains in the trailer of her new HBO Max Original Series, Selena + Chef. In this show, she learns how to make a variety of different entrees from 10 master chefs — who, like Gomez, are in quarantine, and are teaching her over video conferencing.

So is Selena Gomez a good student? In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Kogi BBQ food truck legend Roy Choi, who taught Selena how to make his short-rib breakfast taco recipe, shared his honest impressions of what it was like to walk Gomez through the process of this Korean-influenced brunch treat — and also how it felt when pop legend Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance on their episode.

Selena Gomez really wanted to learn, according to Roy Choi

The host of his own show on Netflix, The Chef Show, Roy Choi is no stranger to cooking with celebrities, ranging from Gwyneth Paltrow to Robert Downey, Jr. — so he has a good basis of comparison. So how did Selena Gomez measure up? In fact, Choi said, she was "amazing," and praised her for never complaining about any of his instructions. "She was in it. She wasn't just there to be there," Choi recalled. "She was interested, and she was following the methods, and it's not like we had to slow down for anything, you know what I mean?"

What made this so remarkable, Choi added, was that unlike The Chef Show, where he's cooking in person with a celebrity, he and Gomez were each in their own homes, and were conversing via video conferencing. There also were cameras placed all over each of their homes, to capture them from all angles. "It was a little awkward at the beginning with the camera situation," Choi admitted. "But then within five, 10 minutes, we forgot that that thing was even there," he said. "It was very fluid... she was really good, man!"

Plus, Choi said, Gomez was quick on the uptake. "I never had to take it back the notch," he explained. But what meant the most to Choi was that Gomez's interest in the process was authentic. "The most important thing that I cared about was that she was interested in this. It wasn't a fake show," he explained.

Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance on Roy Choi's Selena + Chef episode

One of the highlights of Roy Choi's episode of Selena + Choi was when Taylor Swift made a surprise appearance. Gomez FaceTimed her longtime friend to show her what she and Choi were cooking up, to which Swift replied, "If you don't send me the recipe, we're going to have words. I want to be served that." Meanwhile, Choi brought his daughter, Kaelyn, onto the episode because the young Swift fan was "freaking out" that her dad was conversing with her idol. The highlights of this encounter have been shared on Twitter.

Choi admitted he was surprised that this part of the filming made the cut. "Everything that we did made the cut," he remarked. "Those were the fun moments and those were the most viral moments of the episode," Choi said. "I think that was probably a highlight for a lot of our fans... so that was pretty special."

Selena and Roy also worked together in The Broken Hearts Gallery

Selena + Chef isn't the only time Selena Gomez and Roy Choi collaborated together. In fact, Choi has a small role in a romantic comedy that Gomez executive produced, called The Broken Hearts Gallery, which is set to release September 11 (per Deadline). The film is about an unlucky-in-love protagonist, Lucy, played by Geraldine Viswanathan, who creates a gallery of mementos from relationships that didn't work out. "Last year, I got asked to do a cameo," Choi explained. He plays himself, depicting the friend of one of "the main actors in the movie... Dacre Montgomery. He plays Billy in Stranger Things... So I played a cammy."

Choi said working with Gomez, celebrity guests on The Chef Show, and now being on a movie set, has been a surreal experience for him; he has transformed from being an unknown person to a celebrity himself. "It's weird, but also natural at the same time," Choi explained. "It's weird because I'm a fan first, of other things. My life changed just over a decade ago to become this — whatever it is — to even being known beyond my friend groups. So up until that time, being an unknown person publicly, I was a fan, so I'm a hardcore fan of all the people that I've met even more," he added.

Catch the HBO Max Original Series Selena + Chef to see Selena Gomez banter with Chef Roy Choi and nine other master chefs. Streaming now!