comegetitbigKEY LARGO, Florida Keys — The “Sauce Boss” is preparing to cook up a jazz-laden gumbo onstage as a highlight of nearly 30 palate-pleasing events at Key Largo’s Food and Wine Festival, set for July 29 through Aug. 7.

Bill Wharton, known as the “Sauce Boss,” is to craft his signature dish during the Night in New Orleans event set for Saturday, July 30, at Sundowners, mile marker (MM) 104 bayside. The special gumbo accompanies a four-course Cajun French dinner, each course paired with wines.

Wharton’s famous pairing of New Orleans-style music and cooking onstage is even revered in the Jimmy Buffett song, “I Will Play for Gumbo,” referring to Wharton “sweatin’ and a-frettin’ from his head to his toe, playin’ and swayin’ with the gumbo.”

wharton3Saturday’s festival event begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $59 per person, plus tax and tip. VIP seating is available.

Key Largo’s 10-day extravaganza features tasty food, wine and spirits events all over the island, including a buccaneer-style sunset cruise, several wine and cheese tastings, Sunday brunch opportunities, cooking demonstrations and plentiful pairings with tropical seafood feasts.

A signature “Grand Tasting” event is planned for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at Rowell’s Marina, MM 104.5, where visitors can sample foods from area restaurants as experts uncork a huge selection of wines from around the world, to the beat of live music.

For complete event information, visit


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