Roots at the Notting Hill Carnival 2010
Keith Valentine Graham
24 June 1958 (age 61)
|Residence||Brixton, London, England|
|Known for||Reggae Reggae Sauce|
|Net worth||£35 million (2014)|
|Website||Official website of Reggae Reggae Sauce|
Keith Valentine Alexander David Bright Graham (born 24 June 1958), better known as Levi Roots, is a British-Jamaican reggae musician, television personality, celebrity chef and businessman currently residing in Brixton, in south London.
Roots was born in Clarendon, Jamaica. He was raised by his grandmother after his parents moved to the UK, until he joined them at age 11. He was raised as a Christian, but converted to the Rastafari faith aged 18.
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 1996 on his trip to Brixton. He gained widespread fame after appearing on the UK television programme Dragons' Den, where he gained £50,000 funding for his Reggae Reggae Sauce.
Reggae Reggae Sauce
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 appeared in the first episode of the fourth series, seeking £50,000 of investment from the Dragons in return for a 20% equity stake in Reggae Reggae Sauce. Despite erroneously claiming that he had an order for 2.5 million litres of the sauce (when in fact the order was for 2,500 kilograms), 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, Roots released an extended version of his song "Reggae Reggae Sauce" which features one of his children (Joanne) on backing vocals. The music video 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. "Proper Tings (The Reggae Reggae Sauce Song)" received its first play on Allan Lake's breakfast show on Core.
A news story in The Grocer magazine in 2010 states that a range of ready meals were to be launched, and that Roots had stated that the value of the brand had then increased to £30 million.
Levi Roots' Caribbean Smokehouse
Books and television
Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae Cookbook was published in 2008, with a foreword by Roots' investor, Peter Jones. The book has chapters on Roots' story of coming to London and an introduction to Caribbean ingredients. To coincide with the release of his recipe book, Roots appeared on the edition of 3 June 2008 of BBC's Ready Steady Cook as a celebrity. He achieved the second place against Lesley Waters.
Roots 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.
Roots appeared on Celebrity Mastermind in 2010, coming second with 13 points. He also appeared on Big Brother, where he cooked a Caribbean barbecue for the housemates. Roots also made a special appearance in the 2011 urban comedy movie Anuvahood where he plays himself. On 22 February 2018 he appeared in the 8th episode of the 7th series of the BBC detective programme Death in Paradise. He played the part of Billy Springer.
When he appeared on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs Roots revealed that his relationship with his father had been a difficult one, because his father was "a bit of a stranger." He said: "My brothers and sisters all went to school before they left Jamaica but, being the youngest, I never got any education while I was there. I think that I was a bit of a disappointment to him.” Roots has eight children with seven different mothers.
Arrest and conviction
Roots has previously been imprisoned for possession of a firearm and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
- [dead link]
- Zinardo, Lisa (17 August 2008). "Levi Roots puts the groove into food". The Times. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
- Dixon, Rachel (9 August 2014). "Levi Roots on Jamaica". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Enfield, Laura (13 July 2016). "Levi Roots says he is lucky to have come to Britain and reveals the secrets of his success". The Wharf. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- "Levi Roots". Desert Island Discs. 22 July 2016. BBC Radio 4.
- Best Reggae Act MOBO Nomination Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- "Dragons' Den chef tastes success". BBC News. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Levi Roots brings Caribbean to the ready meal aisle". The Grocer. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Levi opens his first Caribbean restaurant". Levi Roots.com. 12 July 2015.
- "Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse".
- Roots, Levi (4 August 2009). Caribbean Food Made Easy. Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 1845335252.