We’re pretty sure there’s not a more enviable combination than that of chef and florist when it comes to couples with cool jobs. (Just think about what their date nights at home must look like!) So when we found out that florist Valerie Wolf of Davy Gray Floral is married to non-other than the executive chef at Justine’s Brasserie, Taylor Chambers, we pretty much had to meet these two in person. Lucky for us, this chill couple was totally down for us dropping in on their backyard date in East Austin. These two down-to-earth souls shared the sweet story of how they met, fell in love, and ultimately learned to help each other do what they do best: food and flowers. #swoon
photographed by kate zimmerman
So food with flowers is our favorite combo — between your creative career paths, you two have it all! Do you do much entertaining together?
Valerie: Gathering people over good food and conversation brings us both a lot of joy. There was a time when we threw big parties often which was ridiculously fun and created tons of priceless memories. We still enjoy a good party but now it’s nice to have just a small group of family and friends over for a big meal in the backyard and really connect. Bringing people together in this way is something I believe we will always love doing as a team.
Valerie, we’ve admired your work with florals in so many online stories… how did you get into the flower biz and what do you love about it?
Valerie: I began by exploring the world of event planning but quickly realized that flowers were what I loved most about any event. So I started buying flowers regularly to experiment with at home and would post photos of my arrangements on social media. My work was well received early on which ultimately prompted me to establish Davy Gray in late 2014. I love the creative freedom my work brings — you can never really make the same thing twice and every piece is like a blank canvas waiting to be brought to life in a way completely unique to itself.
What inspired today’s arrangement?
Valerie: Lots of seasonal summer flowers — dahlias, campanula, scabiosa, vibrunum berries and unripe persimmon branches. The season itself inspired the palette of warm orange tones that blend into soft peach and white paired with bright citrusy greens and foraged fruits.
We’re dying to know: how did you two first meet? Tell us your “meet cute”!
Valerie: Spring break 2009! I was at my friend’s backyard BBQ party when he stopped by to borrow a bike part from the host. They invited him to stay for a beer and we found ourselves talking in the same circle of people. There was definitely instant chemistry! I asked if I could grab him a beer, he said “sure, surprise me!” Apparently this was some sort of personality test which I passed when I brought back a Honey Brown, arguably the best option available in a college beer cooler. He was impressed. HA!
I actually didn’t plan on staying at the party once I got the bike parts. Then I caught the eyes of Valerie and couldn’t look away… I could look into those eyes all day and not say a word, and it would be a good day. I was hooked, so I stuck around and we chatted, flirted, played flip cup (I totally beat her, but she will never admit that she lost). If I wasn’t building a bike that week, i don’t know if Val and I would have met in any better of an environment. The sun was setting, the people where wonderful, the event was fun, and I was smitten with her.
And how long have you been together?
Taylor: 6 years, married 1 and a half years.
Taylor, you’re the executive chef at one of our favorite restaurants in the world, Justine’s. What do you love about cooking? What’s your favorite type of food to prepare?
I love the satisfaction of taking so many different items and focusing them down to one single idea. Even though I work at a french restaurant, Mexican food is my favorite to make.
So Val, does Taylor cook for you often? What’s your favorite recipe that he makes?
Valerie: He does! My favorite is when he creates a beautiful, gourmet dinner from whatever random bits are in the fridge. It’s always on those days when it seems “there’s nothing to eat” at home and he has this amazing ability to design a meal with what we’ve got. It’s fun to watch him cook at home because it allows him the freedom to experiment with new flavors or pairings and put new techniques to the test.
Describe your perfect date night playlist:
Taylor: Well, if I’m cooking on our date night, we will be listening to the Stones for sure. Probably some blues, country, and then when we sit down to eat I’ll put some soul or jazz on to sweeten things up.
We’ve heard that working in the restaurant biz can be hard on relationships… how do you two make it work with the crazy hours?
Taylor: It is hard, and it is especially hard when you work at a late night joint. But we have found ways to spend precious time together. Morning coffee is certainly one of our big things, but on my nights off or days off I try to make it a focus to spend that time around Valerie. We have gotten pretty good at planning our our weeks, months, half the year. (laughs)
So Val, back to that Spring Break barbeque in San Marcos… what was your first impression of Taylor?
Valerie: I immediately sensed his adventurous spirit. It felt like we could have a lot of fun together which continues to prove itself true to this day. (Plus I thought he was really cute!)
And Taylor, what were your first thoughts about Valerie?
Taylor: She was funny, smart, very kind, and had a great presence about her. Like she was real, and grounded. I like that very much.
What’s the hardest thing about being married?
Valerie: For us it’s tough to find time for quality time. Our career paths come with long, brutal hours and at times a polar opposite schedules. So when we do actually find ourselves with a day off together there’s typically lots to catch up on!
What’s on the menu for tonight’s date night?
Texas BBQ Lamb Ribs
Grill Spring Onion
Check out our exclusive recipe for Taylor’s Tomato Rice here!
Taylor, what do you admire most about Valerie?
Taylor: Quite a few things, but I really admire her drive. Starting your own business isn’t easy, everyone knows that. And anyone who has been with or knows someone who is doing that knows how hard it is on that person’s mental state! Through her ups and down she has pressed on, learning more every day. Im very proud of what she has accomplished and I cant wait to see what else she is going to do!
And Valerie, what do you love most about Taylor?
Valerie: So many things! But top three are his work ethic, his fearlessness and his ability to live presently.
What’s the best relationship advice you’ve ever been given?
Valerie: Compromise is key and pick your battles (from my dad and mom, respectively).
Taylor: Patience, and to never be afraid to be wrong or make compromises. Support your partner no matter what.
Valerie, when did you know Taylor was “the one”?
Valerie: We were road tripping from Austin to California with friends in the summer of 2011 on a converted school bus turned house-on-wheels. It was a once in a lifetime adventure – a trip that saved us, really, as we were all coping with the tragic loss of a dear friend. Somewhere between the Grand Canyon and Yosemite I just looked at him and literally felt my heart burst wide open. All the walls came down and in that moment I knew he was the person I was supposed to do life with.
Taylor: Man, we have been on some trips. I love traveling with Valerie, it’s probably when we’e the most happy. One of my favorites was our road trip back from New York down the east coast. We tried to stay at as many state parks that we could, driving down to Florida then cutting across back to Texas. We went to some cool towns, stayed at some neat beaches. Yeah, it was great.
For single friends still looking for “the one”, what advice (if any) would you give on dating in the modern world?
Valerie: I feel way out of the modern dating world loop but in general I’d encourage people to be less quick to judge and more open dating outside of just one “type” because your idea of “the one” shouldn’t be kept in a box.
Taylor: I’m no relationship guide or anything, but energy and connection is all around us all the time, and sometimes that energy syncs up and if you’re not looking for it you’ll miss it, and if you’re looking too hard you might change its direction. Just be open and let it connect with you.
Thank you Taylor and Valerie, for sharing your sweet story with us! Can we come back and hang out in your backyard again soon?