By Maureen Post Special to Published Dec 07, 2009 at 11:37 AM

One of Milwaukee’s great steakhouses welcomes one of the culinary world’s great chefs. Mo’s… A Place for Steaks welcomes Chef Ken Arnone for a coursed wine dinner with Terlato Wines International tomorrow night.

Join Chef Arnone for six courses of decadently rich winter dishes paired with wines from around the world. Arnone is a Certified Master Chef and Instructor at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and resident chef at Ristorante Caterina de Medici in New York City.

In preparation for his Milwaukee appearance, caught up with Chef Arnone to find out a bit more about the creator behind tomorrow’s specialty dinner. You worked in the corporate world before attending culinary school. What drew you to leave business for food?

Ken Arnone: I was actually returning to food. I had been working in restaurants from the age of 13.  The money on Wall Street lured me away but my passion for food brought me back.

OMC: What most influences your technique and style of cooking?

KA: Mastering the basic techniques of cooking enables you to make great food.  My personal style is a compilation of the great chefs that I have worked for in the business.  If you stay on top of your game your style is constantly evolving.    

OMC: What draws you to work for a particular restaurant?  

KA: A passion for hospitality and a great dining experience.

OMC: What made you decide to go after the Certified Master Chef exam?

KA: Personal challenge!  It's the ultimate certification for a chef; this is an opportunity to see where you stand on the highest level in your profession.

OMC: What is your perception of the Milwaukee/Wisconsin restaurant and food scene?

KA: I love to see the dedication to regional specialties.  At the same time, the community is very open to trying new dishes and different styles of cuisine.  

OMC: How does the culinary style of Mo's Steakhouse fit into the type of food you like to create?

KA: Starting with the best ingredients is key. Johnny V (owner of Mo’s… A Place for Steaks) is committed to sourcing great ingredients and ensuring that our flavors are "craveable."

OMC: Since you went to CIA in 1990, the farm to fork movement has only increased and become more mainstream. Do you think this now extends itself into all restaurants and cuisines?

KA: I'm all for buying local and seasonal but it must make sense in your market, for your customer and the style of your restaurant. Typically, a combination of local, seasonal and U.S. seasonal can provide enough diversity in a menu to be successful.

OMC: Tomorrow’s dinner is paired with wines from around the world. What do you think is the benefit of a wine pairing?

KA: It really completes the dining experience. When you nail the pairing, it makes the wine and the food taste better.

OMC: Do you prefer old tradition or new invention?

KA: Understanding how to apply new invention to old tradition.

OMC: Great steak or fresh seafood?

KA: Great steak.

OMC: Savory appetizer or sweet dessert?

KA: Savory appetizer. Cook great and eat well.

Reservations for Tuesday night’s "Mo’s Wine Dinner" prepared by Certified Master Chef Ken Arnone and featuring guest speaker Matt Murphy from Terlato Wines International can be made by calling (414) 272-0720.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.