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Janitor’s claim to creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos is ‘urban legend’: Frito-Lay
May 17, 2021
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Cheetos sometimes prosper.
A former Frito-Lay plant janitor who long took credit for inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has been peddling an "urban legend," an explosive report said Sunday.
Richard Montañez has repeatedly claimed that he pitched the idea of the chili-covered Cheeto to an executive while working as a custodian at Frito-Lay’s plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The story garnered him lucrative speaking engagements, a forthcoming biopic directed by Eva Longoria and even a book deal for his memoir titled, "Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive."
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But the company says it has no records of Montañez playing any role in the snack’s creation, despite him telling his success story publicly since the late 2000’s.
"None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market," Frito-Lay told the newspaper in a statement. "We have interviewed multiple personnel who were involved in the test market, and all of them indicate that Richard was not involved in any capacity in the test market."
The company didn’t dispute Montañez’s improbable rise through the company, which saw him go from plant worker to a director focused on marketing.