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Lineworkers Inspire the Flavors of Duke Energy’s E-Recipe Book

Jan. 4, 2024
This year's book is inspired by the utility's lineworkers who share their stories and the role food plays in their lives.

Duke Energy’s lineworkers inspired the utility's E-Recipe Book, “Tools of the Trade,” developed in collaboration with Johnson & Wales University. The lineworkers shared information their backgrounds, their motivations, their experiences and stories, and most of all the role food plays in their lives.

“We couldn’t think of better inspiration for creative recipes this year than our lineworkers who are dedicated to helping power our communities,” said Taryn Sims, Duke Energy’s vice president, marketing, insights and customer engagement. “Once we had an opportunity to learn more about them and document their stories, the culinary artists at Johnson & Wales University were able to create bold, exciting and memorable recipes that highlight their stories and personality traits.”

Duke Energy circulates the book, which is filled with stories, recipes and energy-saving tips, to its customers across a variety of channels. Originally conceived as a creative way to encourage kitchen appliance use years ago, the book, now offered digitally, has grown to become a favorite staple among the company’s 3.7 million residential customers.

“We were thrilled to work with Duke Energy again this year and help create a unique, nutritious, and flavorful customer gift that showcased the creativity and talents of our faculty and students,” said Jerry Lanuzza, MS Ed., CHE., associate professor, College of Food Innovation & Technology, Charlotte Campus, Johnson & Wales University. “We are grateful to Duke Energy for giving our students a unique hands-on opportunity to work side by side with a professional media team, photographer and food stylist that not only enriched their academic careers but has also fostered a culture of community collaboration."

This year’s offering includes eight recipes inspired by lineworkers across several Duke Energy service territories:

  • Pork Pozole – Eddie (North Carolina)
    • This North Carolina lineworker and winner of the Carolinas Lineworkers’ Rodeo cookoff two years running was willing to share his story for the E-Recipe Book if it didn’t mean divulging his secret barbecue rub recipe. The first meal that the self-taught cook ever made himself was hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. Eddie was 10 years old at the time, and he’s been practicing the art of grilling ever since. Eddie said that the camaraderie that comes with his job is what he values most.
       
  • Jambalaya – Taylor (North Carolina)
    • This lineworker does the lion’s share of the cooking in his house and considers his grandmother, a quintessential Southern cook, his culinary idol. Spices are always on hand in Taylor’s kitchen: kosher salt, coarse-ground black pepper, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika and his own homemade blackening seasoning. In terms of the job, Taylor has been in the industry for 17 years and couldn’t see doing anything else. He said, “Every day is different. There’s always a new obstacle to overcome.”
       
  • Focaccia – Jordan (South Carolina)
    • Jordan chose the profession because she loves working outside. She said good nutrition is important to her, and she is always looking for ways to sneak veggies into a meal. In fact, her favorite ingredient is spinach; however, she admits the first meal she cooked wasn’t so healthy – macaroni and cheese from a box for her little brothers, which they adored.
       
  • Yaki Udon Noodles – Brad (Ohio)
    • If circumstances had been different, Brad might have been a chef rather than a lineman, but his culinary school of choice closed unexpectedly. These days, cooking is his avocation instead of his vocation. Making dinner every night is an essential part of his day. “It’s a stress relief,” he said. “It eases my mind and gives me time to decompress. All the issues of the day fade from my mind.”
  • Braised Beef Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes and Honey Roasted Baby Carrots – Dave (Indiana)
    • Dave, a 24-year veteran, is a mostly self-taught cook whose former co-workers introduced him to the art of smoking meats. His first dish on the smoker was chicken. Now absolutely hooked on the style, he smokes meat every chance he gets. He’s even known for bringing his co-workers brisket, pulled pork and ribs. They can count on his culinary creations being hearty, tasty and not too spicy.
  • Venison and Spinach Lasagna – RJ (Florida)
    • RJ first learned to cook from his grandma, who was known for her Italian meatball recipe – and for using breadcrumbs to thicken her tomato sauce. He still makes her meatballs but with some modifications of his own. As far as being a lineworker, he says the best part is working with his hands and the camaraderie of being part of a line crew.
  • Breakfast for Dinner Casserole – David (Florida)
    • David, a Florida lineworker and self-declared omnivore, said he’s “on a see-food diet: I see food. I eat it.” It’s not surprising that breakfast is his favorite meal, as pancakes were the first thing he ever learned to cook as a kid. He was inspired to become a lineworker after seeing the respect and admiration crews got when restoring power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017.
       
  • Orange Flan with Fresh Berries – Joshua (Florida)
    • Joshua, a lineworker who followed his father’s footsteps into the profession, has an innate love for Puerto Rican cuisine, his family’s original home. He tries to cook every day and is happiest if he’s grilling. He lists pernil, a traditional, slow-roasted pulled pork holiday dish, as his comfort food, but he doesn’t make it because his mother and grandmother have perfected it.

For those interested in testing these recipes in their home kitchens, visit the full list at duke-energy.com/2023Recipes.

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