Levi Roots is a musician, chef and entrepreneur, well known for his appearance on BBC’s’ Dragon’s Den. His infectious ethos of Caribbean sunshine continues to put music into food and all other aspects of life.
Levi Roots has performed with James Brown and Maxi Priest and was nominated for a Best Reggae Act MOBO award in 1998. He was a friend of Bob Marley when he resided in the UK and performed “Happy Birthday Mr President” for Nelson Mandela in 1992 on his trip to Brixton. He gained widespread fame after appearing on the UK television programme Dragons’ Den, where he gained £50,000 investment for his Reggae Reggae Sauce.
Levi began making his Reggae Reggae Sauce in his kitchen with the help of his seven children. His recipe was inspired by his Grandmother, who had taught him how to cook from the age of six in Clarendon, Jamaica. Levi first took the recipe to the Nottinghill Carnival in 1991; he sold it at his stall, named the Rastaraunt where he would sing the Reggae Reggae song. He later took the sauce to a food trade show, where he was spotted by a BBC producer who approached him to appear on Dragons’ Den. He was offered the £50,000 for a 40% stake in his business by Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh. Shortly after his appearance on the programme, Sainsbury’s announced that they would be stocking the sauce in 600 of their stores.
Leading from the success of his spicy sauce, Levi released an extended version of his song “Reggae Reggae Sauce” which features a cameo from Peter Jones. All of the money raised went to Comic Relief. The song, which formed part of his pitch on Dragons’ Den (and was also sung by Roots in an appearance on Harry Hill’s TV Burp), was also released as a download single.
Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Cookbook was published in 2008, with a foreword by Roots’ investor, Peter Jones. The book has chapters on Levi’s story of coming to London and an introduction to Caribbean ingredients. To coincide with the release of his recipe book, he appeared on BBC’s Ready Steady Cook as a celebrity.
Levi had a television cooking show, Caribbean Food Made Easy, on BBC2, with a book of the same name published in August 2009. The show followed Roots as he travelled the UK and Jamaica demonstrating easy ways to cook Caribbean food at home. He appeared on Celebrity Mastermind in 2010, coming second with 13 points, and also made an appearence on Big Brother, where he cooked a Caribbean BBQ for the housemates.
He published his first business book in 2011 called ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’. Levi is an ambassador for the Princes Trust and spends much of his time visiting schools, universities and prisons every year. In 2015 Levi opened his first ‘rastaraunt’ The Caribbean Smokehouse in Westfield, Stratford
As one of the most successful contestants to come out of the ‘Dragon’s Den’, Levi has continued to grow his business and has utilised his talents. He is an accomplished and experienced business speaker and entertainer. As a keynote, motivational, and after dinner speaker, Levi infuses his rich performance with insights into entrepreneurship, marketing, branding, sales and customer service.
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