Auckland, NZ MO - For many cooks, separating an egg yolk from the white is a messy business. As you juggle the yolk back and forth between the halves of the egg, your fingers get stickier and stickier as the white drains away.

Then, more often than not, you have to pick stray bits of shell out of the bowl.

Now one entrepreneur has come up with a device which he believes will do away with all that.

After the egg has been cracked into a bowl the gadget, which works like a pipette, sucks up the yolk into a wide-mouthed plastic nozzle when the rubber top is squeezed.

It then holds the yolk safely until the cook is ready to use it, when with another squeeze of the top it plops it back out in one piece.

Hamish Dobbie, a mechanical engineer, came up with the idea last year after watching a friend painstakingly trying to split eggs – and failing.

‘After making a real mess, and having to dig egg shells out of the bowl, she said that there must be a better way of doing it,’ said Mr Dobbie, 30, from Auckland, New Zealand. ‘I did a little bit of research and came up with a very basic idea for a tool that sucks the yolk out of the white.

‘I thought if I could make something that worked well and looked good I could be on to something.’

Ten months later the device, known as the YOLKR, is about to appear on the shelves in Britain, costing £18.

Mr Dobbie added: ‘The trick was getting the shape of the nozzle right so it didn’t break the yolk when it was sucked up.

‘There were many, many eggs of all shapes and sizes broken in the testing stages, but we got there in the end.