British Bonnet: Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce Goes Home to Jamaica

November 7, 2011

Words by Jesse Serwer, via the Jamaica Observer

If you’ve been to England recently and were surprised to find Jamaican-style jerk sauce on your table at the pub or prominently displayed at the supermarket, credit Levi Roots. A native of Clarendon, the reggae artist-turned-entrepreneur starred on season four of the entrepreneurial reality show Dragon’s Den a few years back, turning a sauce he had been selling at the Notting Hill Carnival for years into the phenomenon that is Reggae Reggae Sauce. Roots, who was once nominated for a MOBO Award and has a catalog dating back to 1981’s “Poor Man Story,” became an overnight celebrity in England thanks to a sales pitch that included his “Reggae Reggae Sauce” theme song. In the years since, he’s released his own cookbook and hosted the BBC2 cooking series Caribbean Food Made Easy; Reggae Reggae Sauce meanwhile has turned up everywhere from Sainsburys to a sandwich at Subway. Last week, Roots traveled to Kingston to launch the brand, which has evolved into a line of foods including potato chips and ginger beer, in Jamaica. As Roots put it, “If it nuh buss a Jamaica, it nuh really buss.”