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How to get a job in F1: Head Chef Benjamin Xavier

'How can I get a job in Formula One?' The question you've been asking yourself, your friends – even the internet. You love the glitz, the glamour, the cutting-edge innovation and the edge of the seat thrills of F1 and you can't get enough of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team's behind-the-scenes videos that show off their drivers, the race circuit and their team members. Does this sound like you? Good, then you're in the right place.

Benjamin Xavier, Head Chef

From aerodynamics to content creation, from precision engineering to HR, Formula One offers a huge range of career paths. Whatever your skillset, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team offers an opportunity for staff to develop while working at the very pinnacle of motorsport.

In the first of our new editorial series, we speak to those that know better than anyone else what it takes to get a job in F1 – our staff. With unique stories, tips and suggestions, we hope to be able to encourage you apply for a job working for us. We kick off with Head Chef Benjamin Xavier, one of the stars of our INSIDER series this season, as he discusses the importance of hard work, professional development, patience and seizing the opportunity.

Work as hard as you can and seek out opportunities that will give you more experience.
Ben Xavier
Head Chef, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team

I was around five years old when I first developed a passion for Formula One. I watched a lot of motorbike races with my Grandad but then one day, we went to Brands Hatch and I saw my first F1 race. I was hooked, and from then, I’d go to my Grandad’s every weekend to watch F1, football and cricket.

We had a regimental routine on Sundays, and we would do what we used to call ‘power shots’. We’d have a shot of carrot, orange, beetroot and ginger juice to start the day and, after that, we’d watch the whole race. It was a ritual. We did it every Sunday without fail.

Working in Formula One was always a dream for me, and when I became a chef, I knew that I wanted to get into F1. I only realised that my future was in F1 once I actually got this job though. I had applied for roles previously, but within the world of F1, it’s not as simple as just applying for a normal job. F1 isn’t a normal job.

You’ve got to be hard-working, and I think that hard work gets noticed because people watch you throughout your career. They watch where you work, who you work for, and they also look out for international experience because F1 is an international job.

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The Aston Martin era represents the beginning of a new journey for us, but the focus is always on improving performance and delivering results. With fresh investment and energy, the stage is set to build on Aston Martin's rich history in motorsport and establish Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team as a competitive force in the years ahead. To succeed on this mission, the team is looking for talented individuals who share our passion for racing and hunger for competition.

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Join us on our journey
Join us on our journey

As soon as I got this opportunity, I grasped it with both hands. I want to do this until I retire and, as long as I’m wanted, I intend on being in F1. In my eyes, it’s a lifetime achievement to be here.

I first started cooking when I was a teenager, and when I was 19, I got an opportunity to move to Spain which, from a careers point of view, completely changed my life. Spain is a great place, and it changed my perspective on food and helped me to develop as a chef.

In my job, it’s important to keep developing and honing my skills because there are four different styles of cooking. We have refined cooking, traditional cooking, bulk cooking and then we also have allergens.

#IAMSTORIES | INSIDER

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

The race is only half the story. From the drivers to the strategists, the pit crew to Head Chef Benjamin Xavier, this is the story of the people who made our Monaco Grand Prix weekend. Go behind the scenes to find out what teamwork really means, with #IAMSTORIES | INSIDER.

#IAMSTORIES | INSIDER: Monaco
#IAMSTORIES | INSIDER: Monaco

I develop as a chef by reading, and I take things into stock. I research different things and that then changes the way I cook. For example, I might have to find a way to make mayonnaise that can be edible for someone on a vegan diet. By researching, I can do that.

Even when I’m travelling, I’m also learning about different cuisines, and I’ve discovered some fantastic food going from race to race. That then shapes what I cook and the food we serve in the future.

My role is rewarding in that aspect and because of our team environment, which is like a family. We have a very strong bond in the kitchen, and that’s imperative to be embraced by the team. The guys come into the kitchen and compliment the food, or after hours we discuss what was liked, what wasn’t and what could be done better. Those are important parts and I enjoy every second.

In my industry, it's a process of learning and refining, but when the opportunity comes, you need to grasp it.
Ben Xavier
Head Chef, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team

From a personal perspective, it’s amazing to work for Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team. I’m a James Bond fan and have been since I was a kid, so Aston Martin is linked to a lot of my childhood memories. As soon as I found out that I would be working here, it was amazing.

Tips:

To someone who wants to work in F1, I would tell them to wait for your opportunity, and when it comes, take it. That’s a 100% must. Before that time, work as hard as you can and seek out opportunities that will give you more experience.

When I was young, I was working for Tom Aikens, a Michelin-starred chef and he told me that I could work with him for five years, but in that time, I would just become a second version of him. He sent me off to a different restaurant in Morocco, and that gave me more experience.

That’s so important in my industry, and it’s a process of always learning and refining, but as soon as the opportunity comes to get into F1, you need to grasp it.

Thanks to Head Chef, Benjamin Xavier, for making his mark with the team and for telling us his story to help others to find a job in Formula One: #IAM

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