Like all young boys, I developed a passion for fire and flames at an early age; a real pyromaniac! By the time I was a teenager, I was learning to experiment with my own cooking as I was permanently hungry! During the growth spurt years, one meal was never enough!
At 18, I was handed a wonderful opportunity to live in South Africa for 6 months, playing local cricket in Johannesburg. Braaing (Barbequing) was a way of life out there and I learned from the masters. I went on to spend many happy years in South Africa, learning more and more along the way (including the extra bag of wood for before you eat, affectionately known as the drinking wood)!
I have since travelled the world for my cricket career and have been fortunate enough to sample a most diverse range of cuisine and experience many different food cultures. I realised that I loved nothing more than experimenting with food and how it was prepared and cooked. In fact, it was becoming an obsession!
When I retired from cricket in 2013 I grabbed my opportunity! I finally had the time to concentrate on my passion; grilling! I have spent the past 7 years honing my skills, learning from international BBQ chefs and experimenting on as many different grills as I could lay my hands on! Grilling became a daily occurrence; we have grilled 3 Christmas Dinners to date!
Which brings us to the glorious end result; Hoggy’s Grill!
I was incredibly lucky to be offered the most beautiful site on the banks of Rutland Water where my Cookery School and Grill Shop will be based, within Rutland Water Garden Nurseries.
And please don’t despair if you’re not local to Rutland! I will be offering exclusive Virtual Grill-Along sessions for anybody in the country (or indeed the world) to enjoy! We will deliver super fresh, local ingredients to your door, including our paired wines or beers and we can get together in real time for some grilling fun! Learn to grill from the comfort of your own home with no need to worry about the taxi home!
At the shop, we will have grills to suit every taste, preference, fuel source and budget. I have personally, hand-picked the selection we will be stocking based on my own experiences. Tell me what you love to cook on your grill and I can offer you your perfect partner. He will become your new best friend, I promise you! (And yes, I did say “he”, every single one of my grills has a name; but more of that later)!
I am very excited about the future of Hoggy’s Grill! For me, this has been 20 years in the making with a little bit of cricket that interfered along the way! I cannot wait to welcome you along on this adventure! I look forward to meeting you all and bringing Al Fresco cooking to life in the UK.
- Matthew Hoggard
Meet the Mascots
No grill chef can function without a chief taster on board; please meet my very critical Chief Meat Monster, Ernie Hoggard. Nothing gets past his discerning taste buds and he is never shy to criticise!
Sometimes, particularly when chilly, I like company at the Grill at home. Meet Walter, Norman & Frank, loyal grilling companions always! They would gladly sample all the meaty experiments but tit-bits and leftovers are few and far between in our house!!!
And finally, my other half, better half and full time speaker of the truth, Sarah! Hoggy’s Grill would not exist or indeed function without her! But primarily, she is my Chief Champagne Taster, Menu Creator and organiser of my entire life!
There is nowhere better than Rutland Water Park to enjoy time in the great outdoors. Whether you are looking for some adrenalin-fuelled fun or a relaxing break from the daily hustle and bustle, we’ve got what you’re looking for.
Set around beautiful Rutland Water and covering 4,200 acres of open countryside, the park offers everything from walking and cycling to fishing and watersports. There is also our fantastic nature reserve, managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and home to the Rutland Osprey Project.
Expert or novice, everything you need to make the most of your visit is right here, including cycle hire and expert tuition on boat handling.
And of course, you will also find a choice of places to enjoy a cuppa or a bite to eat.