Meet our staff.
Chef Jacques Kirk
Chef Jacques and his trademark handlebar mustache have been fixtures in our catering kitchen since 2009. His broad expertise includes working in Paris and at Le Trianon in San Francisco under Chef Rene Verdon, who served Presidents Kennedy and Johnson as White House Executive Chef. After stints in Carmel and at the House of Prime Rib in San Francisco, Chef Jacques became a culinary instructor for nine years at Treasure Island Job Corps before joining Homeward Bound. The chef says the on-site garden and network of local purveyors available at The Key Room satisfy his desire “always to offer clients the freshest seasonal and local products.”
Chef Luis Realpozo
Chef Luis Realpozo has shared his talents with Homeward Bound for more than two decades. Along with being a respected chef, he makes stunning fruit carvings and serves as the chocolate artisan. A native of Mexico’s Yucatan region, Chef Luis began his career as an unpaid apprentice to a local Italian restaurant and quickly put those skills to work upon arriving in California. He helped open Taco Jane’s restaurant in San Anselmo and has appeared at Fresh Starts Chef Events to lead several events featuring chocolate. He also leads the production of program meals for Homeward Bound. “I like training people and showing them my skills, how to make something a little different,” he says.
Chef Andrew Wild
Chef Andrew oversees the training program at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy. A Napa Valley resident for two decades, Chef Andrew has worked in operations ranging from a brewing company to the French Laundry. He joined Fresh Starts Culinary Academy in 2021 after several years as an adjunct professor at the Culinary Institute of America. His experience includes serving as Culinary Production Assistant on the “Emeril Green” television series, presenting at the Artisan Cheese Festival, and teaching workshops on beer and food pairing around California. “This work fulfills my passion for food and culinary history, plus I love sharing that with others,” he says.
Event Coordinator Laura Lee
Laura Lee coordinates events and catering for The Key Room, guiding our guests to create a productive meeting, memorable occasion or engaging team-building activities at our unique venue. She has deep experience as a chef, working her way up in a brigade of high-profile restaurants in Monterey County and local wineries. Laura most recently operated a luxury catering business in Sonoma County serving innovative menus at high-end vacation homes. She is an experienced instructor, having taught both home cooks and budding professionals around the Bay Area. “I’m excited to bring my passion for teaching to students at Fresh Starts Culinary Academy and look forward to producing exceptional experiences in The Key Room,” Laura says.