Selena Gomez Says Her Cooking Has 'Come a Long Way' in 4 Seasons of Selena + Chef

50 Food Faves Rollout
50 Food Faves Rollout

Courtesy HBO Max

As part of the 50 Food Faves package, PEOPLE named our top tastemakers — including Selena Gomez, Top Chef's Buddha Lo, and more — who made an impact on the culinary world with their cooking and creativity in 2022. Catch up with Gomez below, and for the full list, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

You could say Selena Gomez's cooking skills have evolved during the four seasons of HBO Max's Selena + Chef.

"Season one I was a complete disaster and not to say I still don't have my moments but I've come a long way," Gomez tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

The star has been learning to cook — via Zoom! — from pros like Jamie Oliver and Ayesha Curry. The biggest takeaway for her has been "you don't have to necessarily follow a recipe exactly," she says. "Experiment with it."

RELATED: Selena Gomez Launches Kitchenware Collection with Our Place Inspired by Her Heritage

Not only has the show helped her gain confidence in the kitchen (she now rates her skills a modest "5 out of 10") but it's also allowed her to give back with donations equaling more than $500,000 to charities chosen by the chefs.

Gomez doesn't get to use her new skills as often as she likes, but still cherishes her time in the kitchen. "I wish I had more time to cook but with work it's not always easy," says the singer who also stars on Only Murders In the Building and runs her Rare Beauty company. "I love when I get the chance to cook for my friends and family."

"I have revisited many of the dishes I've made on the show," she adds.

When Gomez welcomed her first in-person mentor on Selena + Chef season four, Gordon Ramsay, the chef taught her to make this simple but impressive scallop dish (below). "When I saw him I almost started crying," she said on the episode. "It was such an honor."

50 Food Faves Rollout
50 Food Faves Rollout

Jen Causey

Seared Scallops with Corn Puree

6 ears fresh yellow corn 
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
12 large dry-packed scallops
1⁄4 tsp. black pepper
Chopped chives, for serving

1. Cut kernels off ears of corn. Process kernels in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine mesh strainer set in a medium saucepan. Gently press the corn with a rubber spatula to push juice through the strainer. Discard corn pulp.

2. Cook juice in saucepan over medium-low until reduced, slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about2 minutes. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into a separate medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk in butter and1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel; sprinkle both sides with pepper and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Add scallops to hot skillet; sear on both sides until golden brown, about11⁄2 to 2 minutes. Place scallops on baking sheet to drain. Serve with corn puree and a sprinkle of chopped chives.

Serves: 4
Active time: 15 minutes 
Total time: 20 minutes

All four seasons of Selena + Chef are streaming now on HBO Max.