YouTube’s ‘Hellthy Junk Food’ packs a lot of calories into short videos

Cristina Martinez
JP Lambiase and Julia Goolia in “Hellthy Junk Food” on YouTube.

The YouTube channel may be called “Hellthy Junk Food” but don’t expect to see recipes for a tofu Big Mac or quinoa doughnuts there.

No, the ironically-titled channel of 5-10 minute videos hosted by JP Lambiase and his girlfriend Julia Goolia (aka Yarinsky) is basically a how-to on re-creating favorite and iconic junk foods with their own personal flair, be it the four-pound McDonald’s hashbrown (complete with the golden-arched sleeve) or the giant Swiss roll (which checks in at a whopping 12,000 calories). There are also unusual combinations such as the mac-and-cheese-stuffed fried chicken and its evil twin, the fried-chicken-stuffed mac and cheese.

For this, Lambiase envelops a piece of fried chicken in mac and cheese, wraps the concoction in wax paper and freezes it overnight. The next morning, he rolls it in egg and flour and deep-fries, bakes and then deep-fries it again for extra crispiness. On screen, it looks incredible and both say it tasted even better.

“Very good combination,” Lambiase says, “Mac and cheese and fried chicken, it just works. And at the end of the day nobody got sick, so that’s important.”

“We try to work off of different segments,” Yarinsky explains. “The thing-inside-of-a-thing segment. We also do like a test-kitchen segment and we do copycat recipes. We have our giant-food segment on our channel. So all these different types of shows on our channel.”

There are also road segments, such as recent videos that show the couple in Chicago sampling different eateries’ deep-dish pizza and also going out for a fine-dining experience in an episode titled “What Does a $1,000 Dinner Look Like?”

“It was a two-Michelin-star restaurant, Oriole, and it was $195 per person,” Lambiase explains. “So one of the things we wanted to have is buzzwords saying a $1,000 dinner because the whole dinner came to $1,000 but that was for four people. So I think it was priced fairly for the experience that we got.”

“If you’re a huge foodie,” he continues, “$200 for a meal is more like $200 for an experience. So someone might go to a play or a theater and spend $200 … . But when you truly love food and have a passion for it and you want to experience something you never experienced before, that $200 is worth it.”

Lambiase and Yarinsky came to “Hellthy Junk Food” from drastically different backgrounds, he from mechanical engineering and fast food and she from radio advertising and fine dining, much of which comes into play in their videos.

“A lot of the stuff we’ve done has been engineered,” Lambiase explains. “Different types of recipes or equipment we need or molds or stuff to create the unknown has really utilized a lot of my background being able to create this. Because cooking is a science and needs to be engineered in a proper way to execute some of the stuff we’ve done.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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