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
General Manager & 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.
Shane Brown
Shane grew up in northern Ontario. He knew once he graduated from high school that he wanted to pursue a career in cooking, as the kitchen is where he felt most at home. After high school Shane then took his knowledge to the next level by attending Cordon Blue in 2008. Before joining Beckta he worked at Farbs kitchen in 2009-12 learning from Micheal Farber. There he worked his way up from Garde Manger to Sous Chef. In 2012 Shane began working under Katie at Beckta as sauce cook and quickly became Sous Chef after 1 1/2 years. In 2017 Shane became Chef at Beckta. When Shane isn’t with us here he is tending to his garden at home with his three beautiful daughters.
Laila Mahmoud
Assistant General Manager
Laila started her career in Ottawa where she was born and raised. She began in the industry during her teenage years as a busgirl. Quickly moving towards bartending, serving and eventually management. Laila discovered her passion for hospitality after working in some of the city's finest restaurants. She knew that working for the best was where she would grow and flourish becoming a part of the Beckta family in 2017.
Meaghann Marcille
Sous Chef
Meaghann started her career in Ottawa where she was born and raised knowing at the age of 12 that she wanted to be a Chef. Growing up spending her summers at a family farm, she gained an appreciation for fresh & local ingredients. After completing the Culinary Management program at Algonquin College, Meaghann found herself in one of the top kitchen in Ottawa, Beckta Dining & Wine. Wanting to expand her culinary skills, Meaghann moved to Toronto & landed a job at the most acclaimed seafood restaurant in the country, Buca Yorkville. She made the decision to switch her focus to pastry, which lead her to jump at the opportunity to work with & learn from renowned French trained pastry chef Bertrand Alépée. After making the decision to move home to Ottawa, Meaghann found herself back with the Beckta family where she has grown to be a part of our team as Sous Chef.
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.
Isa Norton
Event Manager
Before moving to Ottawa 2003 to attend University of Ottawa, she got her first taste of hospitality at her parent’s small town, family-owned restaurant. Having graduated from Communications, Isa soon steered her career toward event planning, including a stake-holding position with the Ottawa International Film Festival (OIFF). Isa joined Beckta in the fall of 2014 after spending two years working at our sister restaurant Play food & wine, where she was able to marry her enthusiasm for events with her experience in food.