Every time someone breaks into a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, they are witnessing the realization of one man’s American dream.
According to NextShark, the story behind the chip begins in 1976, when Frito Lay’s janitor Richard Montanez took a batch of uncoated Cheetos home after work. He wanted to spice up the chip with something other than its usual cheesy coating, and he thought that the spices used in traditional Mexican elote would be the perfect companion.
“Crazy ideas are sometimes the ideas that we need.” -Richard Montañez
— m (@marxii_) February 26, 2016
The first prototype was a hit, inspiring Montanez to share his recipe with the plant he was working at. With a little help from the secretary, the recipe caught the attention of the president, who asked Montanez to create a presentation pitching his chip. With a $3 tie and a rented library book on business strategies, Montanez was able to turn his idea into reality.
“We’ve all been given an ability to do something great in this life.” – Richard Montañez, Inventor of Hot Cheetos
— (pegah) پگاه (@saltNpegah) February 25, 2016
Now, Montanez serves as one of the top guns at Frito-Lay, leading the Multicultural Sales & Community Promotions in PepsiCo’s North American divisions, according to Fox News. He even calls himself the “God Father of Hispanic Branding.”
— Richard P. Montañez (@RPMontanez) November 5, 2014
Flaming Hot Cheetos went from a janitors’ unique idea to one of Frito-Lay’s top-selling chips. And thank god, because there’s nothing like downing a bag of the spicy Cheetos and spending the rest of the day licking the coating off your fingers.