Eileen Patricia Fitzpatrick

Four & Twenty Blackbirds
Gowanus, NYC
When it’s time to order dessert, we’re normally especially espresso martini people, if anything at all. But there’s something about pie that transcends cloying desserts and enters its own realm somewhere between a meal and a treat. Enter: Four & Twenty Blackbirds. ‍ This bakery was started by two sisters in Brooklyn and they make the most deliciously decadent pies you will ever taste. Our personal favorite? The Lemon Chess Pie. Just even thinking about this tart yet perfectly sweet dessert triggers a Pavlov reflex in us (note: drool.) We sat down with baker Eileen Fitzpatrick in the Gowanus location and talked about the importance of food in providing a sense of normalcy during turbulent times.
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Full name, age where are you from?

My name is Eileen Patricia Fitzpatrick. I am 28 years old and I am from Brooklyn, New York.

What was growing up like for you and did you have family meals growing up?

I am the eldest of four and I grew up in a two bedroom apartment, I shared one of the bedrooms with all three of my siblings until I was 17. That closeness helped create an "us against the world" kinda mentality that we have taken with us into adulthood. My dad was always working a crazy schedule/any overtime he could get and we had such a small space I feel like because of that & other things we didn't really do family meals. We did go big for birthday and holiday dinners though!

What meal most reminds you of your childhood?

Being a pastry person, my meal is cookies. My dad is Norwegian, he would make krumkake and sandkaker with us every Christmas. It's something I still look forward to every year!

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How did you get into this industry?

When I was 22 years old I was working as an ABA teacher's assistant in Bed-Stuy, it was a long train ride and one day an ad for The International Culinary Center caught my eye. I had always baked for fun at home or I would bake a cake for a friend's birthday but I had never until that point thought about it as a career possibility. I still honestly can't tell you what made me so steadfast and confident in this shift in my life but I found myself on the school's website. Then I was taking a tour of the school, the next month I was approved for a loan, had quit my job and found a new one as a private nanny that lined up with my school schedule as a Professional Pastry Arts student at ICC. When I was about 6 months into my 9 month program I approached Buttermilk Bake Shop in Park Slope and asked to be an intern, they luckily agreed to take me on. I did that on Saturdays, one out of the two days a week I didn't have school or work. That eventually turned into my first full time paying pastry job.

What is your current role and how has the pandemic affected you?

I currently work as the kitchen supervisor at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. The pandemic has affected the menu, sanitation, protocols and delivery services. We have been extremely lucky to be able to remain open and functioning during this time. I'm one of the lucky people in the industry who hasn't lost their job and I am beyond thankful.

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What do you think working in this industry during this time has taught you?

I always knew food was important, but this time has taught me just how essential food is in our society. I have seen people send birthday pies, wedding pies, congrats on you new baby pie, and even some just because I love you pies. Food has provided normalcy, comfort and happiness to people during these very stressful times.

What's your favorite item on this menu?

Oh man, that's a hard one! If I really had to pick I would have to say the birch beer float pie, it's super tasty and so unique. I am also a huge fan of the coconut crackle cookies and the zucchini hand pies. We used to sell these chocolate ginger cookies, they were SO good, they tasted like Christmas. I bake them at home sometimes because I love them so much.

Once it is completely safe to eat out again and socialize, where is the first place you would go for dinner?

Tanoreen in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Schmarwa sliders, kibbeh balls and cheese knafeh for dessert!

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