Former Frito-Lay janitor Richard Montañez has long claimed he invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. His account of the wildly popular flavor’s origins is the subject of the Eva Longoria-directed biopic Flamin’ Hot, which has been previewed in a new trailer. Watch it below.
Premiering June 9th on Hulu and Disney+, Flamin’ Hot stars Jesse Garcia as Montañez and also features Annie Gonzales, Dennis Haysbert, Tony Shalhoub, Matt Walsh, and Emilio Rivera.
According to Montañez, he was inspired to spice up Cheetos by Mexican-American food like street corn while working as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant. He pitched the idea over the phone to then-CEO Roger Enrico and was invited to present it in person. This eventually led to his rise as a marketing executive at the company.
While Montañez’s rise in the ranks is true, Frito-Lay disputes that he invented the flavor, telling the Los Angeles Times in a May 2021 article that they “value Richard’s many contributions to our company, especially his insights into Hispanic consumers, but we do not credit the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or any Flamin’ Hot products to him.”
Flamin’ Hot was directed by Longoria from a script written by Lewis Colick and Linda Yvette Chávez. “The heart and soul and spirit of the story is true,” Colick said in a statement. “He is a guy who should remain the face of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.”