Melissa Elsen and Emily Elsen are sisters and the proprietors of the wildly popular Brooklyn pie shop and café, Four & Twenty Blackbirds. They grew up in South Dakota learning to appreciate the art of pie-making from their Grandma Liz, who baked for their mother’s popular localrestaurant in their hometown. The Elsens have taken these culinary traditions and skills and blended them with their passion for seasonal, local ingredients and creativity with flavor combinations, and have created a local enterprise in Brooklyn that includes four locations: a pie shop, a cafe in the Brooklyn Public Library, a production kitchen with a bar, retailspaceand cafe, along with a seasonal storefront shop in the fishing village of Orient, Long Island NY.
They originally custom-baked pies in their Brooklyn apartment before opening their flagship Four & Twenty Blackbirds pie and coffee shop in 2010. Named “Artisans of the Year” by Time Out New Yorkin 2011, their pies have received critical praise and have been featured in a variety of international food mediaincluding the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Livingand New YorkMagazine. Emily and Melissa Elsen's first book of pie recipes The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book: Uncommon Recipes from the Celebrated Brooklyn Pie Shopwas released in October of 2013. The book has received critical praise and sold over 35,000 copies worldwide; it has been translated to the French by Marabout,and Swedish by Natur & Kultur.
Melissa and Emily Elsen were born and raised in the rural farm town of Hecla, South Dakota. Their mother and her sistersowned the popular Calico Kitchen restaurant for which their Grandmother Liz made all the pies. After finishing a degree in Finance at the University of South Dakota, Melissa traveled throughout Scotland, New Zealand and Australia before settling down in Brooklyn to make pie.Emily has lived in Brooklyn for fifteen years and is a co-founder of the non-profit art and design studiothe Gowanus Studio Space in Brooklyn. She has a BFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute.The sisters reside in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.