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“It was really good news, especially when my mom and dad are here with us,” Thottungal said of his cookbook victory on Tuesday. He said he dedicated his victory to the staff of Coconut Lagoon, his family and DesBrisay.
This year has brought ups and downs for Thottungal. Like all restaurants in Ottawa, restaurants in Thottungal, Coconut Lagoon and Thali, have been hampered by the rise of the novel coronavirus. And then in May, Coconut Lagoon was damaged by fire. It remains closed.
But Thottungal also helped run Food for Thought, a volunteer initiative that provided tens of thousands of hot meals to those in need in Ottawa during COVID-19. These meals were originally prepared at Thali in downtown Ottawa, but the project has just moved into the kitchen at Fairmont Chateau Laurier, where it will be for the next six months, Thottungal said.
This month, Thottungal was recognized for his accomplishments and community work with an induction into the Order of Ottawa.