“I want to spread the word that if a black Brixtonian Rastafarian can make it with just a sauce, then you can make it too.”
The incredible rise of musician Levi Roots to Business legend is one of the most heard-warming success stories of the country. He 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 with Sainsburys, becoming their fastest ever selling product.
Prior to his business success, he had been making the sauce from his home kitchen with the help of his seven adult children, selling it at various small London outlets. His secret recipe was inspired by his grandmother, Miriam Small, who taught him to cook from the age of nine in Jamaica. He had the recipe in his head for years but didn’t start producing it until 1991 at the Notting Hill Carnival – where his ‘Rastaurant’ was a popular feature for over two decades.
As a keynote and after-dinner speaker, Levi infuses his performance with anecdotes, insights into entrepreneurship and inspiring the next generation of business leaders.
Contact Great British Speakers today to book Musician, Successful Business Owner and speaker Levi Roots for your next event.
Levi Roots’ life changed when he was featured on the hit TV show Dragon’s Den in 2007. Two of the five judges were sufficiently impressed with his presentation that they committed £25,000 each for a return share of 20% of his company. In the space of eight years, he had gone from a sauce entrepreneur to restaurateur when, in December 2015, he realised his dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant. The Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse opened its doors to the public in Westfield Stratford City, bringing authentic tastes of the Caribbean to the masses, before closing in 2021.
The rapid popularity of the sauces saw an expansion of his brand, including a range of other sauces and products, as well as cookery books:
– Reggae Reggae Cookbook (2008)
– Caribbean Food Made Easy (2009)
– Food For Friends: 100 Simple Dishes for Every Occasion (2010)
– Spice It Up: Fabulocious Recipes to Spice Up Your Life (2011)
– Sweet: Irresistible Desserts and Drinks, Cakes and Bakes (2012)
– Grill it with Levi: 101 Reggae Recipes for Sunshine and Soul (2013)
He also published the business book You Can Get It If You Really Want in 2011 which explores his success and provides tips on how to succeed in business.
Before becoming this successful culinary entrepreneur, he was, and still it, a successful musician, working with the likes of James Brown, Dennis Brown and Black Uhuru. He was nominated for a MOBO award in 1998 for his ‘Free Your Mind’ album and sang Happy Birthday to Nelson Mandela on his visit to Brixton.
Levi has several strings to his bow with his cooking, writing and singing, and is a popular face on television shows and in cookery segments for newspapers and magazines, as well as becoming an incredibly charismatic and motivational business speaker.
His second cookbook coincided with a BBC2 show Caribbean Food Made Easy (2009) and since then he has appeared on shows including Celebrity Mastermind (2010), Big Brother (2013), The Wheel (2021), Ready Steady Cook (2008), Celebrity Chase (2021) and Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs (2016). He made an acting cameo in the role of Billy Springer in the BBC show Death in Paradise in 2018 and was approached in 2019 about making a film about his life story.
– Inclusion and Diversity
– Business Success
– Caribbean Culture
He is also a passionate philanthropist, visiting hundreds of schools, universities and prisons in the UK as part of his School of Life Tour and as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Agricultural University in 2019 and a Chair of St. Paul’s Carnival, Bristol in 2021.
Levi was a great entertainer with an excellent story of success.
Very appropriate for our audience and event.
Apex Marketing and Communications
Levi was a fantastic speaker! He managed to amuse, entertain and most importantly of all, inspire an audience of all ages. Thoroughly engaging and a true inspiration.
University of Hertfordshire
Engaging, inspiring and fun to listen to, his energy really comes across.
Levi was professional, engaging and certainly has an interesting and amusing story to tell.
Newquest Specialist Media
Thanks a million for coming back to the British Library and taking part in “Rise With Us”. It was one of the best Inspiring Entrepreneur events ever – if not the best! Feedback from the audience was overwhelmingly positive and I know that they have been highly inspired by your story and how you became a dragon slayer, in spite of a shaky start in life. It was also great that you gave us a rendition of the Reggae Reggae Sauce Song.
The British Library
Levi Roots is a visionary, a leader whose contribution to society and duty of service go hand in hand with his professional success. He is an inspirational role model for our students and we are delighted to welcome him to our community of Honorary Fellows.
Professor Jo Price, VC of the RAU