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The birthplace of the Reggae Reggae Sauce revolution

SAUCY CELEBRATION: Levi Roots launched his Reggae Reggae Sauce at carnival 10 years ago

THE LONDON Notting Hill Carnival is here again, celebrating 50 years of being the greatest street party in the world. And little old me is also celebrating something too: 10 years ago I launched Reggae Reggae Sauce and my Levi Roots brand on Westbourne Park Road at said carnival and, like they say the rest is history.

I’ve had a wonderful relationship with Notting Hill Carnival over the years, from my very first visits as a young lad in the mid 1970s, to starting my business on them same streets in 2006.

I have such fond memories of my time getting down with people from all over the world, who have the following things in common: a love of music, partying and spicy food.
But like most relationships, there have been fall-outs and quarrels between us, and I haven’t been to the event for four years. But this year, lowdahmercy, we are united again and nothing will keep me away!

I will be there, jumping, bumping and grinding, and spraying my now world famous Reggae Reggae Sauce on everyone’s jerk chicken, rice and peas and curry goat.

Without this iconic community gathering, London would definitely be a different, more boring place, and I dread to think what I’d be doing with myself. The event still stands for its original purpose, which was to bring separated people together, sharing experiences, and bonding through food and culture.

The movement of the floats, along with their spectacular trails of followers in amazing costumes, represented a sense of freedom and togetherness.

Now, as I reflect on a decade of success in business, I feel grateful and excited about my return, especially as I am sponsoring the World Music Stage on Powis Square. It is going to be awesome.

My original stall, which was located on Needham Road, was where I first dreamed up my business plan to conqueror the world with a bottle of sauce and an acoustic guitar. I was inspired by carnival to be different. The people coming to my stall which I called ‘The Rastaurant,’ used to tell me that they wanted that carnival flavour and vibe all year round. And so my entrepreneurial journey, based on my motto, ‘Put some music in the food’ began.

I was no fool. I instantly spotted the gap in the market that people were telling me about; the need for a Caribbean carnival-inspired table sauce to sit alongside – or even replace – the likes of tomato ketchup, that sits on dinner tables everywhere.

Annually, this was a massive networking opportunity. Once a year, foodies and lovers of music would all converge in Notting Hill, all looking to find the hottest fieriest jerk sauce, so it was always a chance to give or receive a business card or two that could perhaps change lives.

Carnival has a big part to play in the evolution of Caribbean food in the UK, ensuring that our food is no longer just reserved for back street takeaways. Our food is everywhere.

If you don’t believe me, then do visit my Rastaurant, the Caribbean Smokehouse at Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford for your carnival after party, and put some music into your food this Bank Holiday.

Have a great carnival and see you on Powis Square!

More love, LR

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