My mom has an idea for a cooking related tool/utensil. I presume she will need to get a prototype designed and built so she can gauge interest and ultimately find someone to do mass production.
I have no idea of where to start in this context. I would appreciate any guidance.
Depending on the particular utensil building a working prototype may be expensive. For example does it need to be dishwasher safe or meet FDA guidelines for food safety etc.?
In such a case it is probably better to start by building a mockup that looks like the real thing and can be used to show people what the real device will look and feel like. Doing mockups is a common industry practice to save cost. For example a car manufacturer would make a scale (or full size) model out of clay and test it in a wind tunnel before making an actual car.
If making such a mockup is not practical for some reason then a good first step is to build a virtual mockup on the computer using a 3-D CAD program so people can see what it will look like. If you are so inclined you could probably do this yourself using a program like Google Sketchup.
The next step after you have a 3-D model on the computer might be to have it printed on a 3-D printer. There are commercial services that do this as well a home units like the Makerbot.