Ex-cook pleads guilty to putting hair in steak

A former restaurant cook has pleaded guilty to a food-tampering charge alleging he inserted hairs in a steak before giving it to a dissatisfied customer. Ryan Kropp, 24, of West Bend, was fired along with another cook after the incident Feb. 23 at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant.

Kropp was charged in Washington County Circuit Court with a felony of placing foreign objects in edibles, carrying up to 3 1/2 years in prison.

After his guilty plea Thursday, Judge James Muehlbauer scheduled sentencing Aug. 12.

The criminal complaint said that when a manager asked a customer how his steak was, the customer said it was somewhat overdone, although he had almost finished eating it and refused an offer of a new steak.

But the manager insisted on having Kropp prepare a new steak the way the customer wanted it, medium rare, so that he could take it home.

The customer called the restaurant and police after finding hair as he was eating the steak the next day.

According to the complaint, a second kitchen worker told police Kropp had put a slit in the cooked steak and pushed something inside, then stated, “These are my pubes,” referring to pubic hair.

Kropp told police he put a few of his facial hairs on the steak, saying he was angry the customer sent the other steak back and thought he was “just trying to get free stuff,” the complaint said.

A phone number for Kropp had been disconnected when The Associated Press tried to reach him for comment Thursday night.