Tanya Holland Reveals What It Was Like Cooking With Selena Gomez - Exclusive

If you're cynical about celebrities, perhaps you've assumed that Selena Gomez is simply pretending to be charming, humble, and curious as she cooks with some of the world's most highly regarded chefs in her HBO series, "Selena + Chef." Gomez is, after all, an actress. Would it be that shocking if the earnest-seeming singer turned off the charm as soon as the cameras stopped rolling?

To get the scoop on what Gomez is really like behind the scenes of her cooking show, we spoke with Tanya Holland, founder of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, who cooked buttermilk fried chicken and cheddar scallion biscuits with her during the show's debut season, per IMDb. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Holland, who also is a judge on this season's "MasterChef" with Gordon Ramsay, revealed what Selena Gomez is really like in person — and admitted that she, herself, was surprised by how genuinely warm and friendly Gomez is in person. "I didn't find her to be bratty in any way, which someone of her age, who's had so much success, could be a certain way," Holland said. "I just thought she was really kind and sweet. And curious, and wanted to learn, and wanted to do something really well."

Selena Gomez's cooking skills are impressive, according to Holland

Not only did Selena Gomez display zero of the diva attitude that might be expected of someone of her fame, the celebrity is not lacking in cooking talents, either, according to Holland. "I mean, she definitely had more skills than I imagined," she added. Holland gives Gomez's family big props for raising her to be so adept in the kitchen. "She's clearly been brought up to take care of herself. Her grandparents have played a big influence, and they cook," Holland explained. "They were on the show. She had a great, sweet rapport with them. She's very respectful."

As for their experience cooking together, Tanya Holland considers it a feather in her cap that Gomez picked up some additional culinary knowledge during their episode. "The producers said that of all the chefs that she had cooked with at that point, the food she cooked with me looked most like what I had cooked," Holland said. "So they thought that meant that I was a good teacher. So I'm going to take that!"

Catch Chef Tanya Holland as a guest judge on "MasterChef," and check out previous episodes of her podcast "Tanya's Table." Of course, if you happen to be in the Oakland area, be sure and stop by Brown Sugar Kitchen to get your soul food fix.