5 Questions with: Madison Tessener, Chef de Cuisine at Jolie

Meet the newest addition to Jolie Restaurant 

We’ve been anticipating the opening of Scott Crawford’s Jolie since he shared his Thanksgiving menu with us last fall. The French bistro, named for his daughter, is set to open directly beside Crawford and Son this summer. Crawford just announced his chef de cuisine—Raleigh native Madison Tessener—and she comes from quite the background. Tessener is back home after a stint in some of Charleston’s finest restaurants like James Beard award-winning Fig, as well as Sean Brock’s former spots Husk and McCrady’s. She’s also no newbie to French cuisine after her time in the kitchen at the cozy and classically-French Chez Nous. We talked with Tessener to hear her thoughts on the long-awaited Jolie and how she’s thrilled to be back home. 

Jessica Crawford

As told to Catherine Currin


You grew up in Raleigh—tell me what it means for you to return here as a chef.

Its what I’ve always wanted to do! To return to Raleigh and cook has been my plan all along! I’m really excited to finally be here with Chef Crawford and his team.

We’ve been excited about Jolie for a while now…what are you most excited for in the anticipation of Jolie’s opening?

The food! The food is going to be delicious and the space is going to be really fun. I’m really looking forward to being in an open kitchen where I can see the guests enjoying the experience.

What can we expect when we eat at Jolie for the first time? What’s your favorite thing on the opening menu?

The menu will be a mix of really classic French dishes and our modern take on them, too. We’re still creating our opening menu, and spend so much time on each and every dish. I fall more in love with each one we work on! There’s so much thought and detail going into every dish.  

Click image to expand and view renderings of Jolie.

You’re coming back home with quite the culinary resume in Charleston’s world-renowned food scene. How has that prepared you for this position at a brand new restaurant?

I have been fortunate to work in some outstanding kitchens, with some exceptional chefs. Fig is known for its use of classic French techniques. Chez Nous specializes in French cuisine, as well as Italian and Spanish. McCrady’s is known for its fresh ingredients and modern dishes. And all of those experiences will be represented at Jolie.

What gets you excited about the growing culinary community here in Raleigh?

There is such an innovative, fun and healthy food & beverage culture growing in my hometown, thanks to so many great people and chefs!