Where is Self-Proclaimed Inventor of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos “Richard Montañez” Now?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 10 : Richard Montanez, PepsiCo, Head of Marketing and Sales, North America and creator of 'Flaming Hot Cheetos' announces corporate support to the Latino Food Industry Association (LFIA) during press conference announcement of the Latino Food Industry Association (LFIA), August 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.)

Where is Richard Montañez Now? – Flamin’ Hot, an exciting Hulu and Disney+ original movie, beautifully recounts how Flamin’ Hot Cheetos originated through an inspiring journey rooted in one janitor working at Frito-Lay. Montaez’s early years are depicted in the film as he faced challenges supporting his family through low-skilled jobs. Yet despite these hardships, Montaez persevered, driven by his determination to secure employment at Frito-Lay. Over several years of performing his janitorial duties, one man nurtured an outstanding idea and took the courage to present it to the company CEO. If you’re intrigued by his journey and wish to gain more insight into his remarkable story, we have all the riveting details you require here.

Richard Montanez, Flamin' Hot Cheetos Creator

Richard Montanez, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Creator

Richard Montanez is a former Frito-Lay executive and is widely acknowledged to have invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Born in Mexico and growing up in Southern California with limited means and language barriers, Montanez eventually dropped out of school to work as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant in California during the 70s.

According to Montanez’s account, his invention of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos began in the 1980s when he decided to add chili powder to regular Cheetos and found its potential as a spicy snack. He presented his idea to Frito-Lay, CEO, which eventually led to its production as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Montanez’s entrepreneurial drive and dedication saw him rise quickly through their ranks into multicultural sales and marketing roles at Frito-Lay.

Montanez has been feted for his accomplishments and honored with numerous awards and honors for his contributions to both business and the Hispanic community. As an inspirational speaker, he shares his story of perseverance and success – it has inspired many entrepreneurs and individuals striving to realize their dreams.

But it should be noted that Montanez’s claims have come under serious investigation and scrutiny, prompting investigations by the Los Angeles Times and conflicting accounts from former employees to cast doubts upon his involvement with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos’ development – with evidence suggesting instead that its development occurred through collaboration within Frito-Lay rather than being solely attributable to Montanez.

Richard Montanez remains a prominent symbol of perseverance and entrepreneurialism; his story keeps people spellbound.

What Happened to Richard Montaez?

Richard and Judy Montaez have made California their home and have raised three children together. After 42 years with PepsiCo, Montaez retired in March 2019 as a public speaker specializing in personal growth. Following his departure, Montaez has found tremendous success as an inspirational public speaker on popular social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, where he regularly shares his insights and experiences with others.

Richard Montañez’s speaking engagements have encompassed many esteemed organizations, including the Philadelphia Eagles, Indeed, Genesys, and Prudential Financial. He has also been invited to speak at renowned educational institutions such as USC and Harvard. Notable publications, including the Washington Post, Fortune, and Vanity Fair, have featured his story, further amplifying his visibility and impact. Montañez has even appeared on popular television programs such as Good Morning America, reaching a broader audience with his inspiring journey and entrepreneurial insights.

Montaez wrote two books; his 2013 publication ‘A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Executive‘ formed the basis of the popular movie Flamin’ Hot. Additionally, in 2021, his second work, titled ‘Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise From Janitor to Top Executive,’ further captured his extraordinary life experiences.

Montaez has taken great strides beyond his professional endeavors in creating Onelite Outreach, an admirable charitable organization. This group works tirelessly to restore hope to lower-income neighborhoods by providing essential resources such as food, clothing, and shoes at no cost through partnerships with churches, community organizations, businesses, etc.

Montaez acknowledges his limited knowledge regarding his claim as the creator of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos brand when criticized and challenged on this matter, explaining that Frito-Lay had multiple divisions at that time and he wasn’t aware of all their actions in other regions or military sectors during that period. Instead, he remains focused on what he knows to be fact – his contributions and accomplishments. Montaez notes there may have been a lack of documentation at that time, which could account for variations regarding timeframe and who pitched his proposal on several occasions.

Montaez stands by his desire to uplift and inspire people, no matter the controversy or credit given for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. His mission is to encourage individuals to take charge of their lives and embrace authenticity; his autobiography advises everyone, regardless of position to value and conduct themselves as though carrying great responsibility; whether CEO or janitor, Montaez urges individuals to recognize the significance of being responsible individuals in society.

Also Read: Is “Flamin’ Hot” Based on a True Story?