Levi Roots spices up Rainham school's dinners with 'Caribbean flavours'
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
The creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce, Levi Roots, has visited a Rainham school as it welcomes his latest Caribbean creations to its menu.
The 63-year-old, who is perhaps best known for his appearance on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, attended Brittons Academy on March 22.
His jerk breaded chicken fillet and West Indian option has been added to the school's menu.
After pupils tried his latest products, he offered them advice on “selling the person and not just the product” and following their passion.
He shared how, inspired by his grandma, he has "merged his two loves of food and music" and found success.
Now Levi has a host of products including drinks, snacks, ice cream and more.
The entrepreneur said he started his “school of life tour” when he came out of Dragons’ Den 15 years ago.
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It saw him go into “every school and prison around the country – everywhere there were young people”.
While going around these institutions, Levi said he noticed there were “no Caribbean flavours in schools”, but there were Chinese and Italian.
He said: “I see Caribbean kids, I see white kids that are inspired by Caribbean stories, and by things that they see on TV and read, so I made it my mission to introduce the cuisine to schools.”
Levi came across his partners Green Gourmet “by luck” at a food fair and after a few months of working together, they came up with “great products”.
“My son, who is nine, was the first to try them and he loved them," he said.
Both of the options introduced at Brittons are breaded and “slip in the crucial Caribbean flavours that the kids can talk about”, added Levi.
He said: “I hope it will inspire kids to learn about the spices...why it’s called jerk.
"I’m sure after eating the food the next journey for them will be to find out about the culture.”
Levi’s favourite flavour is jerk, he said he has managed to take from being “only associated with carnival and certain Jamaican takeaways” to “right the way through the country” with his Reggae Reggae sauce.
As a young boy, Levi told the Recorder it was “impossible to even think about having anything [at school] that your parents would have in the pot when you went home”.
He added: “So you separated what you would have at school with what you had at home.”
Not having “anything to identify with” at school has inspired him to change that for the next generation.
Levi described Brittons Academy as being the “perfect choice” to introduce the brand.
He said: “It was important to choose a school like this because it has a multicultural vibe and is one of the best I could have been to.
“I don’t want to introduce the flavours just to black kids.
“This is about introducing the flavours so anyone can be able to experience what it is to be Caribbean.”
Year 10 student Nia Brown, 15, said: “We don’t usually have this type of seasoning or flavours; it was nice to actually taste the seasoning.”
Kya Whyne, 16, said the flavours had a good “kick to them”.
Natalie Wacior, 14, said: “I think it widens the choices people have, which is very good and fair.”
Joshua Animasaun, 15, added: “We’ve never had anything like this in the canteen before and I think it’s good that they’ve introduced it."
Catering services manager James Hughs said: “It’s great to be able to educate our pupils about food, flavours and different parts of the world to give them better experiences.
“The face on a couple of the lads when he walked through was heart-warming and it made me tear up actually.
"You can see Levi's a natural with the kids.”
Levi said he is looking to release "Levi Roots the Movie" in the future.