The foray into the restaurants business happened soon after she returned to India, and more or less by chance - she was looking around for an investment opportunity and chef Abhijit Saha (seen in this photo), who was all ready with the blueprint for his restaurant, needed an investor.
"I initially thought I'd be a passive investor because it was a business I knew nothing about, but then Abhijit convinced me to get involved," she says.
That involvement covered the entire gamut, from finance and management to taking orders, being the receptionist and spending the odd night in the restaurant. Everything that is, apart from cooking.
"I wasn't allowed to enter the kitchen," she laughs. "They tried to teach me but I'm not a good cook."
"When she came on board, she did not have any knowledge about the food and hospitality industry but she used this as a learning opportunity," says Saha, who is an equal partner in the venture.
Saha describes Shibulal as someone very calm and collected, who was also "a very very quick learner" and very easy to work with.
For Shibulal, the time spent in the restaurant business led to many realisations, the first of which was that starting a business in India is not easy.
"It was a bit of a shock to realise you can't get things done just because you want to, especially when you're coming from the US, where you are used to things working."
It was a year before Caperberry could finally open, a frustratingly long period for any young and enthusiastic promoter, but a time she now views philosophically. "It took me through a lot of learning - you don't usually have to go through so much disappointment that early in your career," she says.
She also had to deal with the fact that at 23, she was much younger than most of the people she was working with, which meant it was that much harder to be taken seriously, even if you were one of the promoters.
But there were also positives - like the instant gratification the restaurant business provides, unlike other sectors. "Within five minutes you'll get to know whether the customer likes what you've served him. And that's a bit of a high."
Though she continues to be a promoter, her involvement in the restaurants had to take a backseat when she returned to the US, to study for her postgraduate degree in management from Columbia University.
Meanwhile, The Tamara, Coorg (Tamara means lotus in Malayalam, Shibulal's mother tongue) was already taking shape, with the land, a 170-acre coffee plantation, having been bought in 2005.
Image Courtesy: Caperberry, Bangalore