Located on Highway 35, When In Rome is a purveyor of fine Mediterranean dining from the esteemed Chef Engjell Vrapi and Certified Sommelier Kaleigh Vrapi.
My name is Engjell Vrapi and I'm 31 years old. I'm from Roskovec - Fier, Albania. I grew up in Roskovec until I finished the 8th grade and then immigrated to Italy on my own to look for work opportunities. I ended up being taken in by a school for boys without families, "Fondazione il Faro", in Rome. There, they tried to integrate us into the community by teaching us the Italian language as well as giving us technical skills like making pizza, cutting hair, carpentry and computer programming. After a year at the school, I found my first job as a waiter in a vegetarian restaurant. The work was challenging and I loved it. I waited tables for the next six years, working at renowned Roman restaurants learning a great deal about Italian food and wine in the process.
In 2004, I met my wife, Kaleigh, a Montana native, who was a student traveling and studying in Rome. We were married and later had a beautiful baby girl, Fiona. In 2006, we moved back to the U.S. in Bigfork, MT, where I continued looking for positions as a waiter, but instead was offered a job in the kitchen at "La Provence" Restaurant, owned by Chef Marc Guizol. At La Provence, a new fire started inside me to become a Chef. I had worked as a waiter for 6 years without realizing that my true calling was in the kitchen. I decided to attend the New England Culinary Institute (www.neci.edu) in Vermont, where I earned a degree in Culinary Arts. The school was 2 years straight, hands on with small classes only 7 students per teacher. In 2008, I did my first internship with Chef David Kinch at Manresa, a 2 star Michelin-rated restaurant, (www.manresarestaurant.com) in Los Gatos, California. I spent the majority of my internship working as the assistant pastry chef and learned an incredible amount about the finer aspects of baking and pastries.
After Culinary School we moved to Chicago for 1 year. In Chicago, I worked for the Capital Grille, Intercontinental Hotel, and Cafe Bernard. My wife Kaleigh took wine classes to become a sommelier. We didn't get used to the big city and decided to move back to Montana and open up our own restaurant, and with lots of hard work we did it. We love Bigfork, and are looking forward to becoming a part of this beautiful community!
Thank you very much for your support!!
Engjell, Kaleigh, Fiona Hugo and Remy
8270 MT Highway 35