Angola has been a destination for thousands over the years; the place to come for lake living and fun in the sun. Pokagon State Park has put Steuben county on the map & Satek Winery attracts those from near and far, becoming famous for their award-winning wines. The area lakes have hosted people from all walks of life, from movie stars to life-long local residents. Ambrosia Bella is quickly becoming another destination hotspot for Angola. With professional culinary training and a passion for composing enticing cuisine, Chef Ben Lamson creates tempting dishes sure to please any palate. Miranda Hartwell is the person to see for your catering desires. With multiple years of catering experience, Miranda can create an atmosphere for your event from tastefully elegant, rough-hewn rustic, or whimsically fun; all with fabulous cuisine tailored to your exclusive needs. Stop in and see us for a dramatic change in your dining experience; a casual, comfortable atmosphere unlike any other in the area.
Miranda was born in Sylvania, Ohio. She moved with her family to Camden, Michigan in 1993. Her culinary career began at the early age of 15 at some local establishments such as Mulligan’s Restaurant & Pub in Angola; the Boathouse at Coldwater Lake; and North Woods Coffee Co. in downtown Coldwater, Michigan. Miranda moved to Charlevoix, Michigan to further her career in the coffee industry.
From there, she moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a personal assistant to a very talented chef looking to further her career at the Food Network. In addition to helping set up for the pilot episode of the show, Miranda learned the catering business from the inside-out at Bonanno’s Fine Catering. She directed several catered events such as Christmas dinner given by Rosie O’Donnell and FEMA to over 1,000 of the victims of Hurricane Katrina when it devastated Louisiana. She also did events locally for the Mayor, the Louisiana State University Tigers football team in the skyboxes, and large southern-style weddings and events. This is where she developed a taste for southern cuisine and a flair for setting up catered events tastefully and professionally.
From Baton Rouge, she moved to Washington D.C. to work at Buzz Bakery; one of the finest bakery/coffee shops in the D.C. area. Here, she developed her baking skills and learned from the best. She also did some consulting on a new deli that was opening in Arlington, Virginia; Jackson’s Roasting and Carving. From D.C., Miranda moved to Norfolk, Virginia as a personal chef for a world-renowned plastic surgeon creating Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Wanting to further her culinary experience, she decided to work at Bardo Edibles + Elixirs, an Asian tapas restaurant, learning to create new and exciting dishes. This is where she met Chef Ben.
Miranda has always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. She has always aspired to owning her own businesses. She quickly realized and grasped her first opportunity when she and Ben agreed to open up a small restaurant/catering business together. After moving to Angola, where Miranda’s family was just as excited and willing as she, they all began to embark on an amazing adventure together! The historic Hoosier Hills Inn was a perfect location that had an allure all its own, and with much renovation, it now has taken on a new life. Always admiring the Victorian era, Miranda designed and developed the charming atmosphere you stand in now.
Looking to her future, Miranda will not stop at owning just one restaurant, or business. She has plans to develop numerous businesses all over our great nation, with an ultimate goal of creating and executing cocoa and banana farm in Costa Rica.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska; Ben started work in the restaurant industry at age 14. After high school, Ben joined the Marine Corps in 2000, and shortly thereafter deployed to Iraq. Not working in a culinary capacity while there, he decided a military career was not what he wanted to do.
After the military, Ben spent a lot of time in the kitchen creating dishes (and especially cheesecakes) for friends who were requesting them constantly. He then made the decision that he would go to culinary school. He enrolled in the Culinary Institute of Virginia in 2007. While in school, Ben interned at 3 of the top 10 restaurants in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. Ben also worked at Bardo Edibles + Elixirs as Sous Chef for 2-1/2 years. While there, he created dishes like Kobe beef sloppy joe; sea bean salad; and watermelon cheesecake. This is where he met Miranda.
Ben moved to Michigan in 2009 to begin planning for the Ambrosia Bella menu, focusing on bringing his travels and experiences into developing unique flavor combinations to Angola. Fortunately, Ben had prior construction experience which came into play while renovating the old Hoosier Hills Inn in preparation for Ambrosia Bella’s opening. While the dining room of Ambrosia Bella is charming and romantic, the renovation of the building was a challenging endeavor and made Ben grateful for his construction capabilities!
Now executive chef at his own restaurant; Ben gets satisfaction from creating great food he is proud to serve. With honed knife skills and an eye for detail, he loves creating dishes that the patrons at Ambrosia Bella will remember.
Ben would like to continue to own restaurants. His passion for creating new and exciting dishes will keep him in the kitchen, exploring new culinary avenues with unique ingredients.