“Selena + Ludo Lefevbre” breaks a few eggs to make an omelet, and it introduces the premise well enough even if it’s the weakest of the first three episodes.
This recap of Selena + Chef episode 1, “Selena + Ludo Lefevbre”, contains spoilers.
You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
The pithy tagline of Selena + Chef is “making a meal together… apart”, which has that same dramatic pause every time, and becomes no less annoying on each occasion it’s repeated throughout the three episodes sent to press. The first of these, “Selena + Ludo Lefevbre”, makes for a nice introduction to the premise, which finds a locked-down Selena Gomez making a French omelet and a cheese soufflé under the stern guidance of chef and L.A. restauranteur Ludo Lefevbre.
Naturally, I despise the French, a sentiment evidently not shared by Selena or Ludo’s wife, Krissy, who’s at home with him and functions as a videographer and translater, even though he doesn’t seem to need either. At one point their confused-looking kid wanders into the kitchen and seems much less impressed with Selena than you might expect.
Being unimpressed with Selena becomes an unofficial theme of Selena + Chef episode 1, and indeed the next two episodes. We’re told repeatedly that she’s living in a relatively new (and very nice) house, which is meant to explain why she doesn’t know where anything is and can’t work any of the appliances. She has a brand new set of rainbow-coloured knives that Ludo is complimentary of, especially when she uses one to cut a piece of paper, but when she sets about the chives with them he’s clearly a bit aggravated that she didn’t wait for his instructions. Whenever Selena is asked if she has ingredient X or Y, she gets all flustered and wonders if she has it, but of course, it always turns out that she does.
The chemistry in “Selena + Ludo Lefevbre” is lacking, then, and so it doesn’t make the best introduction to the show’s charms (more on those in the next couple of recaps.) Selena struggles to differentiate between a gas and an electric hob and she has trouble with Ludo’s cloying LOWA ZE EAT accent in a kind of bored, dismissive way, which only makes both of them more stressed. When he starts singing some kind of horrific French ditty, all hope of friendship seems lost.
Still, the omelette turns out okay. Selena’s not a very good cook, but she’s bad in the way that most of us are rather than in an exaggeratedly braindead made-for-TV way. The souffle is admittedly less successful, but you’d never know to look at it. The top is lovely, it’s just raw underneath, which isn’t even that surprising of an outcome considering it required much trickier and more delicate procedures, such as separating egg yolks, and that Selena knew how to work the oven, which of course she didn’t. Ludo puts a brave face on things and Liz and Raquelle, Selena’s friends and current housemates, eat the top, presumably out of pity.
Selena + Chef episode 1 ends with what will become a standard end-of-episode charity plug, during which Selena announces she and the show are donating ten grand to the cause. It’s a nice closing sentiment. If you enjoyed this episode, you’re in luck, since it’s probably the weakest of the first three.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.