Wusthof Epicure 8″ Chef’s Knife Review (3982/20)9 min readNovember 29, 2020
Wusthof Epicure 3982/20 is an 8” cook’s knife that belongs to the premium series of the famous German manufacturer. Like all Wusthof blades, this kitchen knife is made in Solingen, a location known as the City of blades. Its destination is to remain sharp and look gorgeous in the professional cook’s hands. I can’t see any reason to buy it for home use. At the same time, I can list a number of reasons why you should purchase it for your professional kitchen. This is the most expensive 8” Wuesthof cook’s knife excluding the one from the new limited Aeon series worth about $1,000. Which advantages does it have? My Wusthof Epicure review based on real usage experience will help you sort things out and make the right choice.
- Series – Epicure
- Blade material – chrome molybdenum vanadium steel
- Steel grade – X50CrMoV15
- Type – forged
- Blade length – 8” (20 cm)
- Handle material – a natural fiber
5 weeks may seem a too short period to make any constructive conclusions. This time, however, was enough to understand its capabilities. I will start my Wusthof Epicure chef’s knife review from its appearance. From the first look, you realize that this knife belongs to the premier league. Its curved lines and luxurious materials form a glorious design capable of creating an inherent look of your kitchen. As on numerous Wusthof promo content, Epicure is a flagman knife series that plays a role of both a functional instrument and interior element. It’s the best Wusthof cook’s knife under $200. That’s why I wouldn’t hide it in the knife block. Instead, I’d keep it on the magnetic holder to reveal all its beauty for your eye and anybody entering your kitchen.
Unlike Wusthof Classic Ikon, Epicure 3982/20 comes in a simple carton box with a transparent front panel. If you consider this knife as a present, then you should add a gift covering to it because the default packing looks unpresentable. Although, the manufacturer has already announced new modern packing solutions to most likely become widely available in 2021.
Wusthof Epicure looks elegant and luxurious due to its massive full-length bolster and curved brown handle. What I really like is how the full bolster smoothly turns into a handle. The line between a metallic part of the handle and its pads has a beveled form, thus making the handle and bolster a single whole unlike the handle of the Wusthof Classic chef’s knife where pads seem foreign elements.
In fact, its handle is what makes Wusthof Epicure look that good. While its blade from has become traditional for the company’s European styled cook’s knives and hardly has any differences compared to other forged Wuesthof blades, the handle looks exclusively refined. It, nevertheless, has kept its functional destination and comfort of use in a delightful design. This knife is one of the few German kitchen knives that combine excellent cutting characteristics and brilliant appearance.
While Japanese kitchen knives are known for their extraordinary blade hardness which can cause some issues with manual sharpening as well as rust and dynamic load resistance, many cooks appreciate Wusthof forged blades for their balance between the cutting edge reliability and metal softness. This becomes possible with the use of chrome molybdenum-vanadium steel with the X50CrMoV15 grade where:
- X50 goes for alloyed steel containing 0.5% of carbon, a chemical element whiсh forms steel when combined with iron (Fe) and ensures strength and hardness.
- Cr goes for chrome that improves corrosion resistance and allows forging
- Mo goes for molybdenum, a metal that reduces the alloy fragileness
- V goes for vanadium that increases hardness and improves the characteristics of chrome
- 15 goes for 15% indicating the total percentage of all alloy additions excluding iron.
The optimum hardness of 58 units by the Rockwell Hardness Scale rating and relatively soft cutting edge enable the blade to keep sharpening for years. You may only apply honing steel to keep the cutting edge flat to ensure the knife will always be ready to work and provide a smooth slice. After 5 weeks of usage, the blade remained as sharp and accurate as it was at the moment where I first unpacked it. It requires no pressure at all to cut a tomato with this blade. I could hold it with two fingers to get a perfect ring without any drop of juice on my cutting board. This is how a chef’s knife has to cut.
With Wusthof Epicure, you can be sure it won’t break if it falls from your cooking table since the blade is soft enough to resist such shocking loads. It has a typical European design with an upward curved cutting edge and straight spine which is curved downward on the tip. On the left side, the Epicure blade has a Wusthof logo engraved on its face. There also are the name of the Epicure series, model 3982/20 stamp, and Made in Solingen/Germany phrase which guarantees the high quality of this knife.
How good this cook’s knife is in cutting depends on how it has been sharpened. Wusthof Epicure has been manually sharpened at the factory with an angle of 28 degrees. That’s why you can use it as soon as you bring it home. It’s suitable for chopping any food: meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Its blade is 8” long (20 cm) and 1.6” wide (4.7 cm). It weighs 0.5 lbs (245 g) compared to 0.6 lbs of Classic and Classic Ikon series chef’s knives. In fact, the weight of a knife doesn’t matter. The important thing is how it feels in a hand. Wusthof Epicure is well-balanced that’s why its weight rather helps you chop things because it replaces the need for hand pressure.
The form of its blade makes it extremely natural to use a rock chop cutting technique that implies keeping a tip of the knife down on the board while chopping products with a knife heel by moving it up and down and pushing them forward instead of changing a blade placement. The knife has a full-tang blade made from a single metallic brick which makes it strong and reliable.
The bolster of Wusthof Epicure ensures the optimal balance which makes it comfortable to work with for hours. Its full length from the spine to the cutting edge also securely protects your fingers from injury. In addition, it has a suitable form that creates no extra pressure on fingers so you won’t have a callus after 4-hours long cooking. However, a full bolster restricts the length of the cutting edge you can use for chopping since the heel is a part of the bolster and it’s blunt.
Nevertheless, Wusthof has foreseen the interests of choosy cooks. The brand offers an alternative Epicure chef’s knife indexed as 3981/20. It’s a twin blade with a half bolster for those who prefer chopping with a knife heel. It has the same blade and handle as well as allows you to use a larger useful area of the cutting edge.
Wusthof Epicure has a curved handle made of natural fiber which is as warm wood and as practical as high-quality plastic. Like polyoxymethylene, this material prevents a handle from slipping, thus ensuring a reliable grip even in a wet hand. I tried to work with this knife after washing my hands without wiping them and I was confused about how securely the handle laid in my hand without a risk to slip out and cut my finger. Compared to plastic handles. I noticed that natural fiber felt way milder and more pleasing.
2 steel rivets fasten Wusthof Epicure handle pads. Its surface is smooth with no dips on it. The handle feels perfectly fabricated with no creaks or protrusions. It’s adapted well to the shape of the palm in the way no matter how small or big your hand is, the handle will fit it for sure. when holding the knife. Unlikes other Wusthof knives,. Epicure has no logo on the handle on both sides. With its cutting masterpiece, the manufacturer focused on the cook’s personal feelings rather than branding and marketing. This approach allowed them to create an effective tool with a sparkling design.
This Wusthof Epicure cook’s knife review wouldn’t be full-fledged without a few words about the price. Professional chef’s knives are expensive and it’s hard to imagine one costing less than $100. The price of Wusthof Epicure 3982/20 as well as 3981/20 is $200. For this amount, you receive a complex alloy, ergonomic handle made from natural materials, impressive design, and perfect brand reputation. This kitchen knife if worth that money for sure.
Pros and Cons
- The wide blade is ideal for slicing, slicing, cutting, and chopping any products and ensures a safe glide of the knife over them
- The handle is made of natural fiber that’s why it’s attractive and warm like wood and strong like plastic
- The blade is made from a single piece of highly alloyed X50CrMoV15 steel with a hardness of 58 HRC which provides a strong edge and good re-sharpening potential
- The soft cutting edge makes Wusthof Epicure chef’s knife unsuitable for chopping bones
- A full bolster limits the length of the cutting edge you can use for chopping. However, you can choose the 3981/20 model if you prefer half bolsters
- High price
- Not dishwasher-safe
Wusthof Epicure is a professional chef’s knife which is best suitable for those who cook for a living. It’s the right choice for those who appreciate reliability, practicality, and design in kitchen knives. It’s worth its price since it can provide you with aesthetic pleasure during cutting. Unlike many other kitchen knives, Wusthof Epicure is not just a chopping tool, it’s a violin in the virtuoso’s hands capable of doing its job perfectly while making everybody around admiring the process.