Levi Roots is one of UK television’s most successful entrepreneurs. Best-known for pitching his Reggae Reggae Sauce on Dragon’s Den in 2007, Levi saw unprecedented success almost overnight, and has gone from strength to strength since.
The Levi Roots brand has encompassed a range of Caribbean-inspired food products, several cookbooks, a television show and even a restaurant. Ever-focused and incredibly motivated, Levi has always combined his two loves of cooking and music, inspiring his mantra, ‘Put some music in your food!’
Today, Levi Roots is a household name and he continues to be an ambassador for Caribbean cuisine. As a highly sought after motivational and entrepreneurial keynote speaker, Levi tours the country sharing his inspiring story at conferences, corporate events, schools, prisons and on podcasts – often bringing his iconic guitar with him!
For years, Levi made his popular Reggae Reggae Sauce – a delicious mix of jerk and barbecue sauce – out of his Brixton kitchen with the help of his seven children. It sold at various small outlets, and was particularly popular at Notting Hill Carnival – where his ‘Rasta’raunt’ was an annual feature for over 20 years.
In 2006, Levi was spotted at the World Food Market by a BBC researcher and was invited to appear on the programme Dragons’ Den. Levi had never heard of the show – but went on to make his pitch, which included a song whilst strumming on his guitar. Levi sufficiently impressed millionaire Dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh. In exchange for a 40% stake in his business, Levi secured a total investment of £50,000.
Levi’s success after the show was nothing short of a whirlwind. After landing on the shelves of Sainsbury’s, Reggae Reggae source outsold Heinz Ketchup within six weeks – the chain’s fastest-ever selling product. Peter Jones described it as one of his most successful investments from the show.
Levi Roots products have expanded to include ready meals, soft drinks, desserts and more. The brand also has deals with numerous high-profile restaurant chains to use Reggae Reggae Sauce on their menus, including Wetherspoons. For four years from 2015 to 2019, Levi was also a restaurateur having opened The Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse in Westfield Stratford City.
In 2009, Levi had his own four-part series on BBC Two called Caribbean Food Made Easy. In it, Levi travelled around Jamaica and across the UK, showing the British public how to bring sunshine flavours into their kitchens.
Levi has also appeared on various other UK TV shows, from live cookery shows such as ITV’s This Morning, James Martin’s Saturday Morning and BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen Live to game shows, alongside other TV stars, Channel 4’s Countdown dictionary corner and ITV’s The Chase: Celebrity Special.
In 2018, Levi played the cameo role of Billy Springer in the hugely popular BBC One series Death in Paradise. He has also appeared in Channel 4’s Youngers and the 2011 comedy film Anuvahood. In 2019, Levi narrated the BBC documentary Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes.
In 2023 the musical he conceived, South Clash: Death in the Arena had its world premier at Edinburgh Fringe.
In 2019, he was approached by writer-producers Meg Leonard and Nick Moorcroft about making his life story into a feature film.
Levi is an incredibly entertaining and charismatic motivational keynote speaker who is passionate about giving back to the community and inspiring young people in the UK. He has visited hundreds of schools, universities and prisons, sharing his story and encouraging young people from all walks of life to believe in themselves. He is also asked to talk at events during Black History Month. Levi is also a proud long-time ambassador of The Prince’s Trust.
Levi has written six cookbooks, all of which focus on exciting, colourful and unexpected recipes with a big emphasis on Caribbean flavours and spice:
In 2011, Levi also published a business book titled You Can Get It If You Really Want: Start Your Business, Transform Your Life, which charts his success and provides inspirational tips on how to get ahead in business.
Levi has also featured in various newspaper and magazine cookery pieces, sharing his life experiences and his delicious recipes.
Levi’s late entry into the culinary field came because of his commitments to music. Levi has toured the world, performing with icons such as James Brown, Maxi Priest, Dennis Brown, Michael Rose and Black Uhuru. He was nominated for a Best Reggae Act MOBO award in 1998 for his Free Your Mind album.
Levi performed “Happy Birthday Mr. President” for Nelson Mandela in 1996 on his trip to Brixton. He also used to play football with Bob Marley every Sunday in Battersea Park! Levi’s Red Hot album was launched in 2009 by Sound Box Media. His last record, Rise Above, was released in 2015 and includes the infectious summer single “Jam in the Streets”.
Levi’s Reggae Reggae Sauce recipe was inspired by his grandmother Miriam, who taught him how to cook as a small boy. Levi was raised by his grandparents in a tiny village in Clarendon, Jamaica. During this time, Levi also discovered his love for music at the church where his grandmother sang.
Levi’s parents had moved to Brixton as part of the Windrush generation, and worked hard to bring their children over one by one. Eventually, it was Levi’s turn to leave Jamaica. In London, Levi went to school for the first time and also visited the Notting Hill Carnival, falling in love with the food, music and colours. Little did he know that it would become home to the sauce that would one day make him his fortune!
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