From carnival stall’s to concert halls, to presenting an award at the 2007 Mobo Awards, Levi Roots is a pioneering role model and is fast becoming a celebrity in his own right. Since gracing our screens on BBC 2 series Dragons Den two years ago this self proclaimed expert chef and veteran musician has taken London by storm, with the success of his Reggae Reggae Sauce.
The current success of his business is a far cry from his humble beginnings selling his sauce on a market stall. ‘Cooking and music have always been something I loved from a young age,’ states the former sound man. Playing in a sound system, back in the late 70’s, alongside the infamous DJ, Blacka Dread and heat wave sound founder Derek Drummonds Levi then went onto to start a family stall at the Notting Hill Carnival back in 1991. He says: ‘Initially we started selling just t-shirts and hats, and then we went on to include food.’
Proving ever popular with the locals, and regular customers who turned up every year to purchase his products, Levi knew he had to expand. ‘I used to attend and prepare dishes for the world food exhibition every November and it was here that I was approached by the producers of Dragons Den. They explained the concept of the show to me, which I thought was a good idea, and a great opportunity,’ and the rest as they say is history.
Levi Roots’ successful and very tasty sauce is now selling in high street supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and has graced many a chef’s dish and retreated restfully in most of our stomachs.
Now off the back of the success of his sauce he has opened his very own restaurant, but how will it be received and what is the secret to Levi’s success? He confidently says: ‘I am putting something back into the community, and the community has always supported me.’
When asked what was next on the cards, Levi explains: ‘I want to inspire, and offer apprenticeships’ giving something back to young people.’ With his positive attitude, successful businesses and hard work ethic Flavour thinks that an apprenticeship with Levi will be extremely appetizing to many.
Levi Roots restaurant
The Papine Jerk Centre,
8 Lavender Road, Wandsworth, London
SW1 2UG Tel: 0207 924 2288
Words by Diana Haye