Training young people to begin a career in the culinary industry.

The Brain Up Culinary program teaches young people basic front- and back-of-house skills to introduce them to careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. Students earn their Restaurant Ready certification from the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation as well as their ServSafe Food Handlers and Allergens certificates. Participants gain skills in customer service, restaurant communication, cooking methods, and more through SEAT instructors in order to prepare them for the industry. Qualified participants then go on to internships with local restaurants who provide students first-hand experiences in a variety of duties in a restaurant. Graduates from this program can go on to employment in the industry, community college culinary programs, or culinary apprenticeships.

  • Gives participants skills to be valuable front- or back-of-house employees in the restaurant industry.

  • Provides restaurants the opportunity to attract and retain talented graduates.

SEAT Center - Culinary Program


  • Technical Training– taught through local community colleges, industry leaders, etc.

  • Structured Academic Support- for homework, required readings, and out of class assignments through the assistance of a current employee from the field.

  • Hands on Internship- the ability to practice the classroom skills through a simultaneous hand on experience in the field. Participating companies identify highly competent and qualified staff and designate them as “job mentors” to the students.  The role of the job mentor is to teach the company culture to the student. Students participate in shift work and/or other company requirements as if they were an employee.

  • Wrap around Support Services- students are provided a full-time coach who provides wrap around support to ensure 100% attendance and participation through pre-emptive problem solving and obstacle removal.


Industry Recognized Restaurant Ready Certification through National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF).

This certification covers the following topics:

  • Employability soft skills in the restaurant industry: Personal Responsibility, Customer Service, Communication, Attitude, Aptitude
  • Basics of knife skills
  • Plating
  • Line and prep cook skills
  • Front-of-house skills

  • Herbs & seasonings, eggs, pizza, salads, chicken cuts, sauces, introduction to baking

Additional Certifications: ServSafe Food Handlers and Allergens


Students are placed in internships with local restaurants. Internships are up to 180 hours, approximately 20 hours/week for 6 weeks. SEAT staff closely monitors student progress and receives feedback from internship supervisors regarding student aptitudes needed to earn their Restaurant Ready certificate.

Current Schenectady industry related employer partners include:

  • Daley’s on Yates
  • Mangino’s

  • Puzzles Bakery

  • Malcolm’s

  • Tara Kitchen

  • Starbucks

  • Rivers Casino

Placement & Retention

Program graduates are placed with  SEAT  partner restaurants or other restaurants in the area.

SEAT is working closely with the NRAEF and NYSRA to build a pipeline of candidates to apprenticeship opportunities (currently approved by NYSDOL in restaurant management and line cook) which includes classroom instruction with SUNY Schenectady culinary program.

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