Levi Roots

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Levi Roots
Levi-roots-notting-hill-2010.JPG
Roots at the Notting Hill Carnival 2010
Born Keith Valentine Graham
24 June 1958 (1958-06-24) (age 58)[1]
Clarendon, Jamaica
Residence Brixton, London, England
Nationality JamaicanBritish
Occupation Businessman, chef,
musician, television
personality
Years active 1982–present
Known for Reggae Reggae Sauce
Net worth £35 million (2014)
Website Official website of Reggae Reggae Sauce

Keith Valentine Graham [2] (born 24 June 1958), better known as Levi Roots, is a British-Jamaican reggae musician, television personality, celebrity chef, businessman and multi-millionaire[3] currently[when?] residing in Brixton, in south London.

Background[edit]

Roots was born in Clarendon, Jamaica.[4] He was raised by his grandmother after his parents moved to the UK, until he joined them at age 11.[5] He was raised as a Christian, but converted to the Rastafari faith aged 18.[6]

Music[edit]

Roots has performed with James Brown and Maxi Priest and was nominated for a Best Reggae Act MOBO award in 1998.[7] 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.[citation needed] 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[edit]

Main article: Reggae Reggae Sauce

Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae Sauce is a jerk barbecue sauce. In 2006 4,000 bottles of the sauce were sold at the Notting Hill Carnival.

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.[8]

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.[9]

Books and television[edit]

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 3 June 2008 edition 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.[10] 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.

Convictions[edit]

Roots has been convicted twice. Aged 15 he was sent to Pentonville prison for six months, charged with assault on a police officer. In 1986, police raided the youth club he ran, and he was convicted for possession of drugs.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Zinardo, Lisa (2008-08-17). "Levi Roots puts the groove into food". Times Online. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  3. ^ Friday Night with Jonathan Ross 24 July 2009
  4. ^ Dixon, Rachel (9 August 2014). "Levi Roots on Jamaica". Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Levi Roots". Desert Island Discs. 22 July 2016. BBC Radio 4. 
  7. ^ Best Reggae Act MOBO Nomination Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Dragons' Den chef tastes success". BBC News. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Levi Roots brings Caribbean to the ready meal aisle". The Grocer. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Roots, Levi (4 August 2009). Caribbean Food Made Easy. Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 1845335252. 
  11. ^ "The irresistible rise of Dragon's Den winner Levi Roots | Life and style". The Guardian. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2016-07-22.