Results of a nationwide search for top food entrepreneurs

London's aspiring food entrepreneurs pitched their case to a panel of judges including Levi Roots and Laura Jackson on Friday.

It’s been ten years since Levi Roots launched his sauce line, Reggae Reggae, following a successful appearance on BBC 2’s Dragons’ Den. The musician-turned-food entrepreneur has now partnered with Westfield to run a nationwide search for the next big food innovator.

Having won investment and mentorship through BBC show Dragon’s Den in 2007, Levi went on to create a hugely successful business, opening his first standalone restaurant – Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse at Westfield Strafford City in 2015.

The search attracted seventy aspiring entrepreneurs, from across the UK, interested in being in with a chance to get a similar head start in setting up their own food business. Ten finalists were invited to participate in a live pitch, held at Westfield Stratford City on Friday, in front of a panel of judges including Levi Roots, Supper-club star, Laura Jackson, and Westfield’s chief marketing officer, Myf Ryan.

Entrants representing ingredient inventors, budding restaurateurs and cuisine creators, impressed the judges but it was Bex Walker’s ‘BEXFAST’, a delivery service of healthy breakfast ingredients which really captured the panel’s attention. She will receive one of a kind personal mentoring from Levi himself and a kick starter financial injection from Westfield; enabling them to launch their business.

“Westfield is passionate about innovation whether that be in food, fashion, retail or entertainment. We recognise that as a nation, the UK, and in particular our immediate communities in London are incredibly passionate and entrepreneurial when it comes to food.  Our finalists today presented some fantastic ideas but it was Bex Walker’s BEXFAST idea really stood out,” Westfield’s chief marketing officer, Myf Ryan, said.

“Her concept really celebrated the local London food scene. I have no doubt that this is a budding business of the future”.

Known for his ability to bring the sunshine of the Caribbean to all of his ventures while popularising the spicy flavours of his Jamaican heritage, Roots has also used his popularity to inspire the next generation. His School of Life initiative – launched in 2013 – looks to educate children around the country how to make delicious healthy food, while his latest search with Westfield invited the local community to together shape the future of food in London.

The competition is the latest in a series of programming that celebrates the city’s booming food scene as part of Westfield’s partnership with London Food Month.

Supper-club co-founder and author, Laura Jackson was also a judge for the competition. “10 years on from Dragon’s Den, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t value the opportunity I was given to take my idea to the world,” she said.

“I love food and really have fun with it.  Those who strive to make a living out of their love of food, shouldn’t stop until they’ve reached their goal.”

“I’m looking forward to partnering with Bex, helping to guide her path and elevating what is already a great idea into a great business.”

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.