A keen cook has invented a kitchen utensil designed to scrape every last morsel from saucepans.
Margaret O'Callaghan, 65, had a flash of inspiration for the gadget, which she named the Scrudle, while trying to ladle out the last of a beef stew. A cross between a scraper, scoop and ladle, the shovel-like device has a flat edge to collect the last drops of soups, casseroles and puddings.
Other uses include decanting rice into jars without spillages and removing breadcrumbs from baking trays, according to Mrs O'Callaghan, from Bromley, Kent. Her invention will hit the shelves of Lakeland next year after she won a competition run by the dishwasher tablet firm Finish.
Other ideas that made the final of the Finish Diamond Standard Innovation Challenge were a cooking calculator, a baking beanbag and a rotating cake tray.
The chef Heston Blumenthal headed the judging panel, which heard pitches from 10 finalists in a Dragons' Den-style meeting. Blumenthal, proprietor of The Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, described Mrs Callaghan's product as "innovative, practical and something that I can actually see myself using in the kitchen".
He said: "After her pitch all the judges came out thinking, 'Now, why didn't I think of that?' because it is such a simple idea, but also something that will be useful and genuinely make life easier." The utensil, which will be priced at less than £5, is likely to be made using silicone or another durable material to prevent it from melting.
Mrs O'Callaghan had already been experimenting with cut-off plastic bottles to scoop up her home-cooked stews by the time she came across a leaflet for the competition on a shopping trip with her husband, David, 68.
Mrs O'Callaghan, who has two grown-up children, Dominic, 40, and Zoe, 38, hoped the Scrudle would prevent food waste.
"I hate having anything wasted," she insisted. "Chefs on TV never scrape out everything because they don't have time, but it irritates me." She won £10,000 from the competition straight away and is likely to scoop around £40,000 in royalties from the gadget, according to the organisers.
What will she be spending the prize money on? "The first thing I'm going to do is pay someone to clean my oven," she said.
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