Reggae Reggae Sauce in hot court battle
British-based Jamaican entrepreneur is having the ownership of his famous Reggae Reggae Sauce challenged in a London high court.
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday November 10, 2011 – One week after his triumphant return to Jamaica as a self-made multi-millionaire, Dragons' Den entrepreneur Levi Roots is back in London being sued for more than £300,000 by a former friend who claims he is the real inventor of the famous Reggae Reggae Sauce.
A London court heard yesterday (November 9) claims from Jamaican-born Tony Bailey, 52, that it was his jerk chicken recipe Mr Roots took on Dragons' Den in 2007, winning a £50,000 investment from Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh.
Mr Roots told the Dragons on the show the jerk sauce recipe was his grandmother's and had been handed down to him.
But Mr Bailey claims this is untrue, and now wants a share of the profits made from the sales.
Following the show in 2007, Sainsbury's immediately pledged to sell the sauce in its 600 stores, and it is now on the shelves of supermarkets across the country
Mr Roots, 53, whose real name is Keith Valentine Graham, has since become a millionaire after his popularity soared following his pitch on the hit show.
Levi Roots launched the Reggae Reggae Sauce in 2007 after winning an investment on Dragons' Den.
But he is now facing a High Court battle after his former friend filed a lawsuit in March 2010, claiming the sauce was his and he had given it to Mr Roots a year before he took it on Dragons' Den.
Mr Roots and Mr Bailey ran a food stall together for 17 years and both sold jerk chicken sauces at the Notting Hill carnival.
Mr Bailey also used to sell jerk sauce in Kingston, Jamaica before he moved to London in 1986.
Giving evidence at the High Court today, Mr Bailey, said: 'I showed him how to make it. Levi took the recipe. I gave it to him in 2006.
'I gave it to him. Levi knows the truth.'
He said to Mr Bailey: 'Levi Roots is doing his own thing with Reggae Reggae Sauce, isn't he?'
Mr Bailey replied: 'With my sauce. With my Reggae Reggae Sauce. With what I showed him.'
He claims he was supposed to go into business with father-of-seven Mr Roots, who lives in Brixton, south London, and a third man, financial adviser Sylvester Williams, but this never happened.
He is suing for a third of the profits made from Reggae Reggae Sauce.
Mr Bailey added: 'He [Levi] told me he changed it up [the sauce]. He said to me it's not my one anymore.'
Mr Vanhegan added: 'Every proud Jamaican believes he has his own special method of how to make jerk chicken.
'Everyone has their own special way of making it, but the general basic ingredients are the same, aren't they?'
Mr Bailey replied: 'Many people make it differently.'
The two-week hearing continues.