Frank Hentschel follows through with whatever sets his mind on. This was already the case when he was looking for an apprenticeship. Following an internship in a water-powered repeat-grind mill in the Sauerland region, he really wanted to learn milling there – and got his way. “This kind of mill was very exotic. It was a water-turbine mill with only one grinding mechanism, back into which flours were repeatedly poured via a recirculation system until the desired coarseness was achieved,” Frank Hentschel recalls. After a few years as a journeyman, during which he worked in a spice mill, a wheat mill and for a mechanical engineering business, he went to the DMSB to become a master craftsman and technician.
There, in the mid-nineties, he listened to a presentation given by the Fuchs Group about spices – he had already worked here before. The contact resulted in an interview and eventually a job. Immediately after graduation, Hentschel went to the USA to manage the US business in Baltimore. Some time later, he switched to McCormick, the world market leader in spices. “Spice mills are something very special and only a few people in the world are as familiar with how they operate as I am,” Hentschel says quite naturally.
His profession has already taken him all over the globe: Australia, India, Turkey, and Dubai represent just a tiny fraction of his personal world map. The reason is simple: “Nowadays, spices are no longer shipped uncleaned and raw, but processed locally. Of course, this means that appropriate processing facilities have to be set up at the producer’s premises.” Production must be adapted to the raw materials and the blend. Hentschel gives an example: “For curries, we first mix the raw materials, grind them together and then mix them again to get a homogeneous end product.”
The raw materials are also a challenge. “Ginger, for example, is a root. As it grows in the soil, small stones or other solid particles can grow in and damage the grinder and affect the quality of the product. Cinnamon is also tricky. This is a bark and can also contain foreign objects. When processing both spices, we have to adjust the grinding process and pay extra attention.” Frank Hentschel brought his special knowledge into his own company in 2016. He now plans mill operations worldwide – new buildings, conversions, and modernizations. “I now concentrate on project work in the mill sector,” he says. His specialty is, of course, the spice mill.