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Levi originally made 65 jars of his Reggae Reggae sauce in each batch, in his family kitchen. In 2012 over 1 million will be sold in supermarkets across the UK. The singing entrepreneur tells delegates his story of ‘slaying the dragon.’ He puts it down to hard work (starting at 8am, home by midnight); believing in yourself, and not letting anybody get in the way; and finding a new spin on an old idea, rather than re-inventing the wheel. His ambition is to make Caribbean as popular as Indian food.
Musician turned chef and entrepreneur, Levi Roots has performed with James Brown, was friends with Bob Marley, played for Nelson Mandela, and was nominated for a MOBO Award. However, it's his appearance on the BBC's Dragons' Den with his Reggae Reggae Sauce which has really established his fame.
Levi and his family had been producing Reggae Reggae Sauce for their Notting Hill Carnival food stall for over a decade. Keeping to his grandmother's 'secret recipe' they tried selling the sauce in bottles one year and sold over 4,000 bottles in a weekend. Levi was spotted by a BBC producer taking his product around a food trade show and he was invited on to the new Dragons' Den series. When he appeared, Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh offered him £50,000 in capital to grow the business. Not long afterward Levi received an order from Sainsbury's to stock the sauce in 600 stores.
Since those early days Levi's Reggae Reggae brand has expanded and is worth over £30million covering frozen and ready meals, drinks and cookery books. Levi is also a regular on food and cookery TV programmes and hosted his own show, Caribbean Food Made Easy. He's also appeared on Celebrity Mastermind and Big Brother (where he cooked for the contestants). Also, keen to retain his musical links, Levi's song, Proper Tings (The Reggae Reggae Sauce Song), which formed part of his Dragons' Den pitch was also released as a single.
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