Donington’s Thomas Cowley High School has a new claim to fame after ex-student and award-winning chef Stefan Howells (24) landed a dream job with Sir Richard Branson.
The school, whose former students also include navigator Captain Matthew Flinders, Royal College of Nursing founder Dame Sarah Swift and 1957 FA Cup-winning manager with Aston Villa FC, Eric Houghton, can now add the 2011 Young Pastry Chef of the Year to its alumni.
Stefan, who turns 25 on Tuesday, is now head pastry chef at Sir Richard’s Caribbean home of Necker Island after previously working for top chefs Raymond Blanc and Marcus Wareing.
On a recent visit to the school, Stefan said: “I have met many amazing chefs, been to amazing restaurants and worked with some of the best chefs in the world.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re not the best or in the top 10 per cent of the class – only you can set your limits and goals in life.”
Headteacher Martyn Taylor said: “We are immensely proud of Stefan and his story clearly shows that if you combine passion and talent with hard work and dedication, you can succeed in achieving terrific things.”