Born in Washington and raised in Portland, Caprial became interested in cooking at a young age. In 1982 at the age of 19, she arrived at the Culinary Institute ready to work and learn. She was one of just four women in her class, and as fate would have it, she met fellow student John Pence. They married in 1984 and settled in Seattle. She became the poissonnier at Fullers in the Sheraton Hotel and shortly thereafter became the chef de cuisine at age 24. In 1990 she earned the Best Chef Pacific Northwest by James Beard Foundation
In 1992, she and her husband John moved to Portland, Oregon to open Caprial’s Westmoreland Kitchen, acclaimed for its eclectic Northwest cuisine. Later that year, she was invited as part of the cooking team for Julia Child’s birthday. In 1996, Great Chefs showed up to tape her for their Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs – Great Cities television series, even though she had her own series on TLC and later on Oregon Public Television. Times became tough in the mid 2000’s and in 2009, they closed their 17 year old restaurant
In 2014, she returned to Seattle and is now the executive chef at the Bookstore Bar & Café at the Alexis Hotel in downtown Seattle.