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 intensive hands-on training to prepare students for jobs in the busy culinary industry and has been certified by the American Culinary Federation. See our flyer in English or Spanish for more details.

We are currently accepting applications for the next session. While the spring start date has not been set, we’re actively connecting now with prospective students. Please complete the application form or email us at with any questions.

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.

Our students build their skills in two Homeward Bound kitchens and have the 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 Picco in Larkspur, Dylan worked at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville before moving to the kitchens of high-profile chefs like Mark Stark, Michael Chiarello of Bottega and Charlie Palmer at Dry Creek Kitchen. At Picco, his tasks include scheduling, hiring and mentoring as well as hands-on cooking. He has developed a passion for making a changing list of fresh pastas.

“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.”

EIN Number: 68-0011405