Chef Mathew Wiltzius of Chicago’s Lockwood Restaurant Feeds Nostalgia with Carrot Cake

The Daily Meal sits down with Midwestern native executive chef Mathew Wiltzius

Chef Mathew Wiltzius.

Wiltzius’ fall projects for the Lockwood will incorporate also use old traditions as inspiration. First, Wiltzius said the Palmer House is actually going to try to build an igloo on its roof. Wiltzius said he will treat the igloo like a root cellar, which is often used in other countries in the winter in place of refrigeration.

“We’re going to do it just because I want it,” Wiltzius said, laughing. “And then we’ll take some of the things that we have prepared, like the carrots that we have coming up (in the garden) right now, and pickle them or jar them or whatever and hold them in our root cellar for as long as our root cellar lasts.”

The Palmer House Hilton also has a small garden in the Bohemia National Cemetery, where Wiltzius said he would like to grow winter wheat for the fall.

“I want to set up a Go Pro and go from the seeds to my hands to the earth to the wheat growing out, and then time-lapse the whole thing,” Wiltzius said.

Then, the final product would be incorporated into fall plates at the Lockwood Restaurant. Like the burger, Wiltzius said diners at the restaurant might not understand the story or the inspiration behind the bread, but that’s not because there isn’t a story—and that’s the theme for much of what Wiltzius wants to serve at the Lockwood.


“There’s so many people that do eat it, and they don’t really understand or know why I made it or about the memories there,” he said. “But they enjoy it.”