Roots is currently being sued by his former business partner Tony Bailey for a cut of the Reggae Reggae profits and whilst he dismissed claims that he stole the recipe from his old friend as a ‘pack of lies’ he reconfirmed in court that he had come up with the sauce himself, and just pretended to have been selling it for 15 years as a ‘marketing ploy’.
Former reggae singer Mr Roots has made millions from Reggae Reggae Sauce, which came to fame when it was featured on the BBC2 show in 2007 with Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh agreeing to invest £50,000 in his company.
When he appeared on the show, he claimed that the sauce was based on a recipe from his grandmother, and said he had been selling it at the Notting Hill Carnival for more than a decade.
Today Roots was giving evidence at the High Court, where he is being sued for more than £600,000 by Mr Bailey, with whom he ran a jerk chicken stall at the carnival for 15 years, and financial adviser Sylvester Williams.
Bailey and Williams are suing the now multi-millionaire for a third share each from the sales of Reggae Reggae sauce.
However, the former reggae star says he created the sauce from a basic recipe, and was trying to ‘recreate’ the flavour of his grandmother’s original jerk chicken seasoning.
He also claimed that while the sauce wasn’t sold at the Notting Hill Carnival, he and Mr Bailey sold jerk chicken and people came to their stall just to see Levi Roots himself.
Reading from the sauce label, Ian Glen QC, acting for the claimants, said: ‘On the bottle of sauce, it says “Our family in Jamaica have been blending home-made Jerk sauce since way back, and for years it’s been the taste of London’s Notting Hill Carnival.” Is that true?’
Roots replied: ‘No, that’s not true. It’s a marketing ploy. ‘When I was trying to market the sauce, I thought of every conceivable way that I was connected with music and the Notting Hill Carnival.
‘I cooked all that in a bag together and tried my best to make a story about it.’
Glen then asked about the claim that it was his grandmother’s recipe, Roots admitted that this was also untrue.
The case continues