Our hope is to offer you extraordinary food & wine
with fun, value and warm hospitality

We are a modern, small-plates restaurant that serves full appetizer-sized portions of market-driven cuisine, all prepared from scratch with care in our open-concept kitchen overlooking our second floor dining room and kitchen bar. We use local, sustainable and seasonal products where possible, and believe in supporting area farmers as much as we can. This small-plate format allows guests to sample a few different dishes without having to commit to just one main course in a traditional restaurant.

We hope to be able to welcome you to Play soon!
Stephen Beckta
Owner

Stephen Beckta is proprietor of Play, and its sister restaurant, Beckta dining & wine, one of Ottawa’s premier fine dining restaurants. 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 Bill Joe Restaurateur of the Year Award by the Ontario Restaurant Association in 2011, nominated for the Ontario Premier’s Awards in Business twice (2006, 2010), named one of Ottawa’s Top 40 under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal (2008) and Algonquin College’s Alumni of the year (2010).
Clay Cardillo
Managing Partner

Clay Cardillo is the Managing Partner for Play, as well as for its sister restaurants gezellig and Beckta dining & wine. 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.
Sarah French
General Manager

Sarah French grew up in the upper Ottawa Valley where she was raised with an appreciation for food that was organic and local, and home cooked meals were prepared fresh from the family garden. Her career in hospitality began over a decade ago when she started serving in a restaurant near her home. Here, the chef, who was dedicated to using the freshest possible ingredients, obtained most of his produce from his family farm mere kilometres from the restaurant. These beginnings formed a lasting impression on Sarah. Since then, Sarah has continued to expand her keen sense of taste for nuanced flavour combinations in both food and wine. Her affection for all things food and wine has led her to broaden her amazing front-of-the-house skills, resulting in a well-rounded and caring manner. Sarah joined Play in 2009 as a server, and with us found a home where her respect for fine dining, paired with sensitive and responsive service, has blossomed. She joined our management team as Head Server in 2010, moved into the role of service manager in early 2012 and was promoted to General Manager later that year.
Emeric Beccaris
Chef

Born & raised in France, Emeric decided to learn about the restaurant industry at Jean Drouant Hopsitality & Culinary High School in Paris. During his 5 year program, Emeric was able to learn the different departments of the hotel & restaurant business from cooking to accounting. After graduating in 2010, he decided to come to Canada to learn English where his love for cooking fresh, local cuisine brought him to work at Buca in Toronto. During his time at Buca, Emeric started expanding his culinary knowledge as a commis under Chefs Rob Gentile & Ryan Campbell. Only a few years in, he took on the role of Junior Sous-Chef eventually helping to open the new Buca Yorkville, at the Four Season's Hotel as a Senior Sous Chef. Life led him to move to Ottawa, where he started to work at Play Food & Wine where he continues to expand his knowledge & love for working with locally grown produce & learning new techniques.
Dominique Lapointe
Sous Chef

Dom was raised in northern Ontario where he learned at a very young age how to be self sufficient by helping on his father's farm. Between raising young animals in spring time to hours and hours of harvesting fresh vegetables in fall season, Dom found himself a passion for food. After years of hard work on the land, it was time for him to pursue his dream of becoming a chef in enrolling in the culinary program at La Cité Collégiale in 2007. After college Dom started working at Lac Leamy Casino where he also got the chance to work at Le Baccara and learn about fine dinning. Northern ingredients was always something that Dom wanted to incorporate into his style of cooking and thats why in 2011 he went to work for l’auberge Le Baluchon in Saint -Paulin where he spent three years learning nordic style cuisine. In spring of 2015 Dom decided to return to Ottawa and finds a cooking position at Play. After one year as a cook he was promoted to sous chef and he is still now working with the best team you can get.
Connor Gallagher
Sommelier

Amanda Avalar
Event Manager

Amanda moved to Ottawa in 2011 to attend the University of Ottawa, where she graduated with a degree in Communications. One of her favourite professors advocated the importance of volunteering in your field to gain experience, which led her to multiple volunteer jobs planning events for different organizations in Ottawa. Some of which include Catholic Centre for Immigrants’ Community Cup, and Easter Seals Dancing with the Stars. It didn’t take long for her to realize this was something she loved to do. Amanda joined the company in 2014 as a Hostess at Beckta Dining & Wine, and eventually starting assisting their Event Manager with the planning of events. After nearly three and a half years at Beckta Dining & Wine it was time for a new challenge and was given the opportunity to take on the position of Office Manager and Event Coordinator at Play, where she continues to combine her passions for great hospitality and organizing successful events.