Fresh Starts Culinary Academy is Homeward Bound’s flagship job-training program, serving low-income students from the community as well as Homeward Bound residents.

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, we’re excited to have a new cohort of students in our kitchen to learn core skills for a career in the busy culinary industry! They began 10 weeks in our award-winning training program on Nov. 1.

The next class at  Fresh Starts Culinary Academy will start in 2022. If you’re interested in enrolling in our program, read more details on the flyer in English or Spanish.

Apply now online or download and print an application to let us know that you’re ready to get cooking! We are a 100% vaccinated workforce and students must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

For questions, please contact Program Coordinator Andrew Wild by email or call 415-382-3363 x231.

Catalyst Kitchens Model Member

Our program is a model member of Catalyst Kitchens, a nationwide affiliate group for organizations that combine culinary training with social enterprise.

Our program has been certified by the American Culinary Federation.

Fresh Starts Culinary Academy has been designed for students to build skills in  two Homeward Bound kitchens with the added opportunity to work at Fresh Starts Chef Events, a series of celebrity chef dinners produced by Homeward Bound. Our team also produces Wagster Treats dog biscuits, chocolate Halo Truffles and Halo HomeMades, a sister line of jams and salsas.

Dylan Builds Career as Sous Chef

As a teenager, Dylan Ghadiri did not consider cooking as a career option. His dreams focused on baseball, but his grades declined too much to keep him on the high school team.

“I was in a bad spot. I was in and out of Juvenile Hall,” Dylan recalls. Then his grandparents learned about Fresh Starts Culinary Academy and suggested that he try it.

“Things clicked and life went in a different direction,” says Dylan, who has been assembling an impressive culinary resume since graduating from our training program in 2012.

Now executive sous chef at Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, Dylan also held sous chef role at Picco in Larkspur and Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria in Geyserville. He worked in the kitchens of high-profile chefs like Mark Stark and Michael Chiarello of Bottega, in addition to a previous stint for Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen. At Picco, he got his first taste of scheduling, hiring and mentoring along with the hands-on cooking.

With a serious passion for making fresh pasta, Dylan set up a takeout pasta business from his home when the pandemic shut down restaurants. At Diavola, he elevated his skills making traditional Italian dishes with a Wine Country spin.

“When I finished the Fresh Starts training, I knew that management would be one of my goals,” he adds. “At this point, I’m working to become an executive chef someday.”