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

This award-winning program provides an intensive 10-week course to prepare students for jobs in the busy culinary industry and is certified by the American Culinary Federation. The course includes food preparation and safety, recipe sizing, knife skills, food service, and “life skills” like teamwork and conflict resolution. Hands-on experience is a key part of the program.

Read more details in the Fresh Starts Culinary Academy flyer. Prospective students should submit an application. For more details, please email Training Director Steve Cohen 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.

Chefs preparing food

Our program is certified by the American Culinary Federation.

Our students build their skills in two Homeward Bound kitchens and work at Jackson Cafe in San Rafael, a partnership with  the Whistlestop agency serving Marin seniors. The cafe opens weekdays for lunch at Whistlestop, next to the San Rafael Transit Center. Check the Jackson Café menu weekly for your favorites.

As part of Fresh Starts Culinary Academy, students also may work at celebrity chef events 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.


Lilyette Finds Fresh Path in Cooking

Fresh Starts graduate Lilyette Gallegos of Marin City began her culinary training at the age of 17, while still a student at San Andreas High School. At the time, she was not certain she’d graduate and saw the training could offer an alternative path to success.

“It was the best thing for me. I didn’t know much about cooking but I had a dream of being in culinary arts,” she says. Lilyette, who graduated in 2013, received the award for “Best All-Around Skills” in her culinary class and ended up graduating from high school after all.

After working in several kitchens around Marin, she’s landed at the Sausalito Yacht Club and been promoted to line cook. Now she has the opportunity to serve as a model for other Fresh Starts graduates employed there.

“What’s been valuable was I learned communication, how to follow recipes and follow up what the chef wants,” she says. “Fresh Starts puts you in the actual setting of working. It’s really helped me.”