Meet the Chocolate Witches

Michelle Novosel Pennell

Co-Owner, Executive Chef and Chocolatier

Michelle’s childhood dream was to be a candy maker thanks to the Willy Wonka movie. After high school, she worked in restaurants, health care, worked tirelessly to help each and every animal that she could, and founded the Dixie Derby Girls roller derby league in Huntsville. Her life has had many twists and turns, but her passion for food, candies, and desserts never left her. Thanks again, Willy Wonka – she’s now living her dream!

Michelle worked in the culinary world as a server, cook, baker, and manager, and then graduated from culinary school in 2009 and received her Professional Chocolatier Certificate, with honors, from Ecole Chocolat in 2012.

Pizzelle’s is the brainchild of Michelle and her sister, Caitlin. Michelle manages the kitchens and is responsible for the recipes, flavors, designs, and custom chocolate work.

Caitlin Lyon

Co-Owner, General Manager

Caitlin never dreamed of owning a chocolate shop and dessert café, but she does a damn good job of it. She received a BA in Sociology from UAH in 1993 and worked as a social worker for more than 10 years. But before her first social work job, she was Garde Manger at an upscale restaurant, a barista, and a café manager. Through these experiences, she found her love of all things culinary.

She went back to school in 2004 to get her Graduate Certificate in Technical Communication at UAH and was working full-time as a technical writer when she and Michelle opened Pizzelle’s in March 2013. She left that cushy job after just 9 months to be at Pizzelle’s full time. Caitlin received her Professional Chocolatier Certificate, with honors, from Ecole Chocolat in 2015. She’s the realist in the business and works to make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

Emily Hawkins

Executive Pastry Chef

Emily is our resident cake expert! Emily and Michelle first met when they worked together at a local restaurant when they were 16. Emily went on to get her BA in Psychology and English, and her Masters Degree in English from UAH. She taught English before she found her love of pastry by working as a pastry cook for her sister-in-law. She moved to Napa Valley and received her Baking and Pastry Certificate from the Culinary Institute of America.


In January 2017, she became our dream Pastry Chef, and she elevates our pastry artistry to a whole new level.

Marcie Purves

Executive Confectioner

Marcie was Pizzelle’s very first employee, and she’s been with us since the second week we were open. Before becoming a Confectioner and our Chocolate Sous Chef, received her Bachelor of Science in Biology (minor in Chemistry) at Athens State University.


She brings her love and knowledge of science into everything she does at Pizzelle’s. She’s responsible for the recipes of several signature chocolates and candy bars, including It’s Log!, Hazed and Confused, and You Wanna Peach of Me. Pizzelle’s wouldn’t be what it is today without Marcie’s hard work and dedication.

Caitlin Mackie

Chocolate Assistant

Caitlin’s love of art and food found her at Pizzelle’s as a loyal customer. Eventually, this dedication turned into a full time job.


Before moving to Alabama, she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, with emphasis in painting and print making, at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She uses her art background and skills to create beautifully decorated chocolates.

Shandy Wittschen

Pastry Cook

Shandy started with us as an intern in 2017 while attending the Culinary Arts program at the University of North Alabama. She did such an amazing job that we hired her, and she graduated in December 2017.


She worked as a cake decorator before starting full-time at Pizzelle’s. Her efficiency and organizational skills are beyond belief. Shandy is responsible for baking cakes, cookies, and other pastries, and for making the other pastry components.

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