Keith Valentine Graham, better known as Levi Roots, is a British-Jamaican celebrity chef, TV personality and highly successful businessman. His phenomenal rise to fame is one of the most engaging success stories to date.
Levi hit the big time with his now famous Reggae Reggae Sauce, a mix of barbecue and jerk sauce. The Reggae Reggae range won an exclusive contract following his appearance as a candidate on the hit TV show Dragons' Den in February 2007. Two of the five judges were sufficiently impressed with Levi's charming presentation - which included him singing while strumming his guitar - that they committed £25,000 each for a return share of 20% of his company. The sauces were soon stocked in Sainsbury's stores across Britain, and Levi's sauces became the chain's fastest ever selling product range.
Levi's secret recipe was inspired by his grandmother, who taught him how to cook from the age of nine in Clarendon, Jamaica. Levi had the recipe in his head for years but didn't start producing it until 1991 at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Since his appearance on Dragons' Den, Levi has expanded his product range into such areas as soft drinks, and the company he established is now worth in excess of £30 million. He has also realised his dream of opening a Caribbean restaurant, opening The Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse in Westfield, East London in December 2015.
As well as being a successful businessman, Levi is also an accomplished musician. He was nominated for a Best Reggae Act MOBO award in 1998, has performed with James Brown and Maxi Priest, and was a friend of Bob Marley when he resided in the UK. He also performed Happy Birthday Mr President for Nelson Mandela during his 1992 trip to Brixton.
Leading from the success of his spicy sauce, Levi released an extended version of his song Reggae Reggae Sauce, with a music video featuring a cameo from Dragon Peter Jones, one of the original partner investors. All of the money raised went to Comic Relief.
Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae Cookbook was published in 2008, with a foreword by Peter Jones. To coincide with its release, Levi appeared on BBC's Ready Steady Cook as a celebrity cook. In addition, Levi appeared on his television cooking show on BBC2, Caribbean Food Made Easy, with a book of the same name published in August 2009. Food For Friends, Spice it Up and Sweet followed, with his most recent book, Grill It With Levi, published in 2013.
Now a regular face on TV, Levi Roots also features in newspaper and magazine cookery columns.
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