Owner & Executive Chef, Localis
Christopher Barnum-Dann nearly missed his calling in the culinary world. After spending years as a Master Electrician and musician, he was eating his way across the country while traveling with his band when he realized he was never going to be a rock star. Viewing a chance advertisement for culinary school on television, he recognized that his love of finding and eating great food was concealing an even greater passion – cooking. He immediately enrolled in school. Gifted with a fine palate and imaginative cooking style, he met with quick success. Encouraged, he began exploring the possibilities his newfound profession had to offer.
Chef Barnum-Dann began by visiting fifteen Michelin restaurants, all in a year’s time. A revelatory dining experience at Akelaŕe in San Sebastián clarified everything, and he left the restaurant feeling exhilarated. As he navigated the three-mile walk back to town in the dark, a lightning storm produced breathtaking views of the Bay of Biscay. With each footstep, Barnum-Dann became more certain that cooking was his life’s purpose and that owning a fine dining restaurant was his future.
His natural passion and enthusiasm for cooking gained him instant employment. His first job, at Hapa Sushi in his hometown of Auburn, California began the same day he applied to culinary school. Next came Ten22 in Sacramento, where he talked his way into a job in the kitchen despite his lack of experience. He quickly became its Chef de Cuisine. Over the next few years, Barnum-Dann focused on honing both his culinary and business skills. He became the chef at some of the most successful restaurants in Placer County, California, including Cafe Zorro, Wise Villa Winery, Winchester Country Club in Meadow Vista, and Cibo 7 in Roseville.
In September 2016, Barnum-Dann realized his long-held dream to become the owner of Localis, a restaurant where he began as the Executive Chef. Known for its fine dining, and located in Sacramento’s Poverty Ridge district, Localis offers a setting with a welcoming sensibility and ease. Barnum-Dann often greets guests from behind the chef’s counter, where a wood fired-oven enhances the flavors in many of the dishes he creates.
Diving into the Sacramento culinary scene, Barnum-Dann has made Localis the restaurant where guests trust him to feed them well. He partners with the best farmers and growers, searches out the freshest ingredients at the height of their expression and composes dishes of expertly prepared, artfully plated, beautiful food full of flavor. His passion for cooking is fully expressed in the daily tasting menu where he combines hyper-seasonal ingredients into sublime dishes with which he then carefully pairs wine.
Barnum-Dann has embraced his Sacramento restaurant’s identity. As a community supporter, he and the restaurant participate in numerous charitable events throughout the year. A husband and father of three children, he focuses on supporting non-profit organizations that help children. Most recently, he shaved his head as part of a St. Baldrick’s Foundation event to raise funds for childhood cancer research.