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.

**Due to the COVID-19 emergency, training at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy is temporarily on hold.  We are not accepting new students yet but expect to resume operations as soon as it’s feasible. With reopening of restaurants and the lifting of restrictions for in-person education, we hope to restart our award-winning program before the end of 2021. 

At this time, our staff continues working to connect graduates with employment opportunities and resources. If you are a former student at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy seeking help for employment or to recertify ServSafe Manager credentials, please contact Program Coordinator Drew Drucker 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 sous chef at Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria in Geyserville, Dylan also held the sous chef role at Picco in Larkspur and worked in the kitchens of high-profile chefs like Mark Stark, Michael Chiarello of Bottega and Charlie Palmer at Dry Creek Kitchen. At Picco, he got his first taste of scheduling, hiring and mentoring as well as 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 revels in 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.”