Our Team

Stephen Beckta
Stephen Beckta is proprietor of Beckta, and its sister restaurants, Play food & wine and gezellig. After graduating with honours from Algonquin College’s Sommelier program, Stephen departed Ottawa to hone his skills in New York City for four years with the top players in the restaurant industry. Stephen started at Café Boulud working for the celebrated chef, Daniel Boulud, followed by two years with renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer at Eleven Madison Park before returning to his native city. Stephen has been named Top Independent Restaurateur in Ontario by the Ontario Hostelry Institute (2007), won the National Terroir "Outstanding Service Professional" Award (2013), won the Bill Joe Restaurateur of the Year Award in Ottawa by ORHMA (2011), nominated for the Ontario Premier’s Awards in Business twice (2006, 2010), named one of Ottawa Life Magazine’s Top 50 people twice (2003, 2010) one of Ottawa’s Top 40 under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal (2008) and Algonquin College’s Alumni of the year (2010). Stephen is proud to be the Chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa where he is also an alumnus .
Clay Cardillo
Managing Partner
Clay Cardillo is the Managing Partner for Beckta, as well as for its sister restaurants Play food & wine and gezellig. Clay completed the Algonquin Culinary Program in 1998 before becoming the Sous Chef for LeMetro in Ottawa. From there Clay worked in the kitchens of the NAC and The Keg,and was soon promoted within The Keg to open restaurants as Kitchen Manager. Here he began to find that while he got into the business to work with food and wine, he enjoyed working with the people in the restaurants as much as the product. Before long, Clay was recruited by SirCorp, then a small Canadian restaurant corporation, to be the opening Kitchen Manager and then General Manager for a number of restaurants throughout Southern Ontario. After 9 years and soon after the birth of his first child, Clay left SirCorp to become Business Development Manager at Cara, where he helped owners develop their people and restaurants. In 2012, Clay joined the Beckta family of restaurants of Beckta dining & wine, Play food & wine and gezellig, where he is happy to fulfill his passion for building business by driving hospitality.
Katie Ardington
Executive Chef
At age thirteen, Katie began her restaurant career as a pub dishwasher in her hometown of Brockville, Ontario, and went on to work every station in the kitchen and dining room, falling in love with the bustling industry. Following this passion, Katie enrolled at Algonquin College’s Culinary School, graduating on the Deans List with Honours in 2003.

Her ambition for fine-dining excellence brought her to an entry-level kitchen position of the critically-acclaimed Beckta dining & wine in 2005. Katie quickly worked her way up to Chef du Cuisine at Beckta’s innovative small-plates sister restaurant Play food & wine, and then returned to lead the flagship kitchen at Beckta as its Chef de Cuisine in 2012. After five years and countless accolades, she was honoured to be chosen as Chef at 24 Sussex, cooking for Prime Minister Trudeau.

In 2018 Katie was proud to accept the much larger role as Executive Chef role at the Beckta restaurant group, which includes Beckta, Play and Gezellig.

Katie leads all three kitchens with huge aspirations, working alongside each restaurant chef to care for and inspire their teams, while celebrating each restaurant’s unique menus. Her vision is to not only make our three restaurants the most compelling places to dine in the city, but to also to create the best culture of hospitality for her restaurant family to grow and thrive in.

In 2010, Katie received the prestigious Top 30 Under 30 Award from the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and regularly gives back to the community through countless events and initiatives that reflect her strong values of caring for people through inspiring food.
Pieter van den Weghe
GM & Wine Director

For 13 years, Pieter served and managed at Ottawa’s Courtyard Restaurant. Along the way, he fell in love with two things. The first was the rewarding experience of looking after people. The second was all things wine. Both of these passions led him to become a graduate of Algonquin’s College’s Sommelier Program and earn a Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Wines and Spirits from the WSET. First joining Beckta as Service Manager in 2006, Pieter became our Sommelier in 2008. Since then, he’s crafted a diverse wine list, which promotes delicious Canadian and international wines from great producers who make wine with a sense of place. Outside of Beckta, Pieter continues to spread the word about wine through his teaching at Algonquin College and his articles in Diplomat magazine.
Cameron Dipaolo
Sous Chef
Born and raised in Amherstburg, Ontario. Cameron DiPaolo began his love for cooking while working as a dishwasher at a golf course. He then moved to Toronto to attend the culinary management program at George Brown College and has since worked in a wide range of restaurants, including The Carbon Bar, Catch, and the Oliver and Bonacini restaurant group. Cameron is proud and excited to have joined the Beckta management team and is excited for what is yet to come.