Saturday, November 26, 2011

Judge: Levi Roots didn’t steal recipe..but he's a liar

Levi Roots is a Reggae Sauce millionaire.
He repeatedly claimed the recipe was handed down by his grandmother, and that it had been voted the world's best jerk barbecue sauce, and had been the "taste of Notting Hill Carnival" since the early 1990s.
Roots, 53, was sued for £600,000 by Tony Bailey, and financial adviser Sylvester Williams for stealing the recipe and breaking a deal to sell the sauce together.

The judge rule that Levi Roots did not steal the secret recipe from a former associate and friend.
But recognized in court that Levi had Labout the product several times on TV's Dragons' Den.

The judge said Roots "regards the truth as an optional extra".

But despite a ruling that the stories were "false representations", the judge tossed Bailey's claim that it was his recipe. The judge added: "There's nothing special either about the ingredients or the methodology of making them into a sauce."

Levi Roots has thrown the Grandma story down the stairs and now says he created the sauce from a basic jerk recipe and the Dragons' Den lies were just "marketing".

Roots said: "I was promoting the sauce. I was just trying my best to promote the sauce in the best way possible. I didn't think they would use the story, but it would be about the taste."

Here's a sample of the questioning Roots had to answer:

When asked about the claim that it was his grandmother's recipe, he admitted that this was also untrue.

Roots said: 'My way of trying to market the sauce when I started out was to put in all my experience with people in my life and my family.

'I was trying to create the flavour that my grandmother used to cook for me. How she used to do what she called relish.

'I was trying to recreate that flavour and that is the reason why my grandmother is on it. I thought it apt to put her legacy in there.'

Read aloud, in court, from the transcript of Roots' appearance on Dragons' Den, which convinced entrepreneurs to invest in the product to the tune of £50,000.

Levi was asked: "'You were saying that you had been successfully selling Reggae Reggae sauce for 15 years, is that right?'

Roots replied: 'It's my connection to Notting Hill Carnival was more what I was talking about. This was my marketing ploy.'

Again asked: 'But the sauce didn't have a 15-year reputation?'

Roots said: 'It's not about sauce, it's about Levi Roots. It [the carnival stall] was only popular because it was a Levi Roots stall.'

He also admitted lying in his first cookbook by denying his gangland past.

But he said: 'I was desperately trying to tell my story in a cookbook, which was totally unrelated to what I was now, and I found it very difficult to tell the story.

'I wouldn't say it was a lie - I was trying to market myself at the time. I was trying to market myself as Levi Roots.'

He admitted having a business agreement with Williams, but said it had been abandoned before his appearance on Dragons' Den.

Roots added: 'Since Dragons' Den I realised what I have become to the public. It's become much more than just a sauce.

'The whole thing about Levi Roots has become so important, especially for black African Caribbean people.'

Hey Levi, we wonder what you have become to the public now?