Joe Thottungal was born in South India. He received his Hotel Management and Catering diploma from a culinary institute in nearby Madras. His career began at the five star property of Leela Kempinski in Mumbai, before moving to Saudi Arabia to further advance his career. In 1998, Joe immigrated to Canada. He started his Canadian culinary journey in Toronto, then he moved to Windsor before arriving in Ottawa where he accepted an opportunity to work at the Crowne Plaza Hotel as a restaurant chef. He was quickly promoted to Executive Sous Chef. While working at the Crowne Plaza he completed his Chef de Cuisine certification from SAIT Calgary and became a Certified Chef de Cuisine in May 2003. His passion for cooking and serving guests gave birth to the Coconut Lagoon Restaurant. The Coconut Lagoon is the first of its kind in the nation’s capital. Joe opened his second restaurant Thali in downtown Ottawa in December 2018. Joe is active in the community and is a member of the Ottawa Chapter of Les Toques Blanches, and the CCFCC. He is always willing to lend a hand to different charity events like Bon Appétit Savor the Moment, Taste of Glebe, and the Can Go Afar Foundation. Il se devout à la cuisine Sud-Indienne au saveurs riches en cultures et en histoire, ainsi qu’au plaisir de tables partagés. He is devoted to South-Indian cuisine, as well as to its rich flavors which highlight culture, history, and shared culinary experiences.