Have you heard the one about the Englishman, the Dutchman and the German? And it’s not a joke! On the contrary, Stuart Barnacle, Ben Kop and Dieter Gundt form GEA’s globetrotting applications support team for meat processing machines and applications – including the GEA CookStar. They have perfected the art of fusing theory and practice, and have helped countless food processors in every corner of the world get the best from their GEA machines.

The team

Stuart, the Englishman in the trio, is a university graduate of food science, and actually first saw the CookStar as a customer in 1995. He joined GEA a few years later, so it must have made a good impression. Dutchman Ben has a master’s degree in food technology and joined the company 12 years ago. This leaves Dieter (not pictured) who has 22 years with GEA, and a university education that covers chemistry, meat processing, food technology and packaging. Our complete team of Food and Application Technologists is much larger than Stuart, Ben and Dieter (who was helping a customer of the day the picture was taken). The complete team includes Angela van Bakel, Ben Kuhne, Tim Pessers, Jack Gielen, Martin Verhoeven, Hans van Schijndel and Eamon Brady.

“I like to show more than what happens. I explain why it happens, what it means to the product. ‘Impingement’ is much more than just a word.”— Ben Kop - Application Specialist at GEA

The challenge

Dieter sums up the CookStar’s well known reliability in three words, “Running, running, running”. He adds, “You have to do something really stupid to break it”. To back this up, Ben points out, “A few of the early R&D 400 mm models did reach customers, and the first one is still working in Norway. And a few years ago, we refurbished one and it sold almost immediately”.

Stuart also knows where the first 1000 mm machine in the UK is still reliably working. But reliability is only one aspect of the ‘Masters of Cooking’ philosophy. The others are performance and passion. This is where Stuart, Ben and Dieter really come in to the picture.

“We show the CookStar is unbeatable in the world. I guarantee it.”— Stuart Barnacle - Application specialist at GEA

The right performance

They each have a different approach. Ben says, “I like to show more than what happens. I explain why it happens, what it means to the product. ‘Impingement’ is much more than just a word”. Dieter is very hands on. He says, “I’m always curious. Can I even cook it? Can I improve the yield? And the answer is always yes”. Stuart believes, “In the end, everything is about physics”. But rather than dazzle his audience with science, he uses familiar examples like sauna and home cooking to explain the technology in everyday terms. “We represent where science meets technology, and then delivers results that usually exceed our customers’ expectations”.

It is this combination of skills, experiences, education and backgrounds that make the team unique. “Together we’re unbeatable”, says Ben. They’re involved in the continuous cycle of improvement, and help customers stretch the boundaries of performance. Dieter again, “We’ve been successfully doing this for years. It takes five seconds to shout you’re the best. It takes a lot longer to prove it”. This is why we run the master class seminars. 

Last word to Stuart, “We show the CookStar is unbeatable in the world. I guarantee it

25 years of innovation with GEA CookStar

With the introduction of the world’s first 2-zone spiral oven in 1992, GEA CookStar started to set new standards for industrial cooking. Evolving over time to the world’s only three-phase cooking concept in a double spiral oven, it is still a leader in terms of innovation, performance and reliability. Already for 25 years and counting.