Here's a video from Bloomberg that goes behind the scenes at chef Damon Baehrel eponymous restaurant, which may be one of the most difficult reservations to get in the world. As Baehrel explains in the video below, the self-taught chef serves diners elaborate tasting menus in his home's basement in Earlton, NY.
Baehrel — a 2013 JBFA semifinalist — explains that his reputation "snowballed" due to word of mouth. In a Bloomberg profile piece, Baehrel confirms that his reservation list "stretches well into the back half of this decade" and that eventually he'll have to stop taking reservations so he can retire.
Just have a look at the automatic reservation response food writer Lauren Bloomberg posted to Twitter to see how there is a "multi-year" backlog. The automatic email also states that it is "not unusual for guests to wait several years or more for a reservation" and that the key to getting in the door is "flexibility." By way of comparison, Spain's El Celler de Can Roca (currently ranked the #1 restaurant in the world) is booked solid, but they only offer reservations 11 months in advance. Other impossible-to-get tables follow a similar pattern, only offering reservations for a set amount of time in advance.
Once inside the 12-table restaurant, customers are served Baehrel's $255 - $275 multicourse tasting menus, which are made from ingredients that are farmed and prepared by Baehrel himself. In the video, Baehrel calls his cuisine "native harvest," and describes it as "my way of life, living off the land." Baehrel also addresses the challenges of working through the winter, why he sees himself more like Daniel Boone than a chef, and his hospitality philosophy. Go, watch: