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Southern gazpacho, baked tofu on spa menu at National Press Club

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Inspired by nature and art, chef Tim Morton at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in North Carolina's Research Triangle will create a fresh taste of Southern cuisine for the Washington Spa Alliance Fourth Annual Symposium at the National Press Club on June 24.

Working with homegrown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from The Umstead's dedicated farm, chef Morton mixes classic items with new favorites at the hotel's highly rated restaurant, Herons. The WSPA menu June 24 ranges from Tobago-inspired gazpacho with pickled clams and summer vegetables to steamed black bass, baked tofu, and goat milk custard dessert.

Morton joined The Umstead after a two-year stint at Chicago’s famed Alinea Restaurant. His culinary skill previously rated raves at Georgia's Sea Island Cloister Hotel. Raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Morton was educated at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick via its Culinary and Hospitality Certificate Program, and earned his accreditation from the American Culinary Federation in 2008.

Overlooking a forest lake, and adjoining a gallery of North Carolina art pottery, Heron's complements the newly expanded Umstead Spa. A secluded terrace and garden court is the setting for yoga and Pilates. Spacious relaxation lounges lead to an outdoor whirlpool and cabanas at the swimming pool. The men's spa features a step-down whirlpool and sun deck. The expansion brings The Umstead Spa to 16,000 square feet, including 11 treatment rooms.

The fourth annual WSPA symposium will bring together an historic gathering of spa industry pioneers. Honorary chair is Deborah Szkely, 92, founder of Rancho La Puerta in Mexico.

Reservations are online: www.washingtonspaalliance.com

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