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The phenomenal rise of Rastafarian musician Levi Roots is one of the most heart-warming business success stories to date. Levi made the big time by producing his Reggae Reggae Sauce, a delightful mix of barbecue and jerk sauce that won an exclusive contract in 2007 and was soon stocked in Sainsbury’s stores across Britain – Levi’s sauce is the chain’s fastest ever selling product.

Prior to that, Levi had been making the sauce from his home kitchen with the help of some of his seven adult children, and selling the sauce at various small outlets in London, including a south London record shop. Levi’s secret recipe was inspired by his grandmother Miriam Small who taught him how to cook from the age of nine in Clarendon, Jamaica. Levi had the recipe in his head for years but didn’t start producing it until 1991 at the Notting Hill Carnival – where his ‘Rastaraunt’ was a popular feature for over 20 years.

But that all changed when he was featured on the hit TV show Dragons’ Den. Two of the five judges were sufficiently impressed with Levi’s charming presentation which included a song whilst strumming on his guitar, that they committed £25,000 each for a return share of 20 per cent of his company.

In the space of 8 years, Levi has gone from a sauce entrepreneur to restaurateur when, in December 2015, he realised his ultimate dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant. The Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse opened its doors to the public in Westfield Stratford City, bringing authentic sights, sounds and tastes of the Caribbean to the masses.

The rapid popularity of Reggae Reggae Sauce has seen an expansion of the brand, to include a wide range of sauces and products. His first cookery book, Reggae Reggae Cookbook was published by HarperCollins in June 2008 and continues to sell extremely well. His second book, Caribbean Food Made Easy was published in August 2009 and was accompanied by a BBC2 series of the same name. Food For Friends (August 2010), Spice it Up (2011) and Sweet (July 2012) were to follow, all published by Mitchell Beazley. Grill it with Levi was published by Ebury in 2013. 

Levi is always moving with the times and has launched his own app called Levi Roots’ Sunshine Food.

The original article can be found here: https://shrewsburyflowershow.org.uk/?portfolio=celebrity-chef-levi-roots

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