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Margaret tempts chef with secret of kitchen

PUBLISHED: 16:02 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2010

A PENSIONER has been chosen from hundreds to present her idea for a new kitchen utensil to experimental chef Heston Blumenthal. Margaret O Callaghan, 65, of St George s Road, Bickley, is one of 10 hopefuls who will meet the Michelin-starred cook, famou

A PENSIONER has been chosen from hundreds to present her idea for a new kitchen utensil to experimental chef Heston Blumenthal.

Margaret O'Callaghan, 65, of St George's Road, Bickley, is one of 10 hopefuls who will meet the Michelin-starred cook, famous for unlikely combinations such as egg and bacon ice cream, in London today when they will describe why their innovations should win.

But the mother-of two is remaining tight-lipped on exactly what hers is - except that it is called a "scrudle" - in case anyone pinches her idea before she has had time to patent it. She said: "I can talk in a very mysterious way about it. It is a new use for something virtually everybody already has in their kitchen. It needs a bit of a redesign but it makes things much more efficient.

"I'm very excited but nervous too. Isn't it amazing that I'm meeting Heston Blumenthal? My husband thinks he's a bit mad but I like him. It's good looking at things from a different perspective."

Mrs O'Callaghan was chosen from hundreds of applicants who entered the Finish Diamond Standard Innovation Challenge.

The overall winner receives a package estimated to be worth at least £50,000, including a £10,000 prize from Finish, and the opportunity to work with kitchenware producer Lakeland on developing their product, bringing it to market and eventually receiving royalties from sales.

The housewife added: "I really didn't expect to get to the finals. It would be amazing if I won. The money would certainly be useful. It would be exciting to see my product on the shelf."

Mr Blumenthal, who owns the three-Michelin-starred and award-winning restaurant The Fat Duck, said: "The finalists we have chosen are the ones we feel have really embraced the concept that great innovation is born from inspiration and from an understanding of tradition and classic ideas of the past.

"Already, their inventions have transcended a brilliant idea from the past into something new for the kitchens and cooks of the future. What I am looking forward to now is personally discovering that experimental spark that they will need to win this competition."

The winners will be announced in October.

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