Everyone has an origin story and, technically, so does every thing. This includes Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Apparently, the spicy-tangy, crispy snack that leaves fingers stained with a questionable powdery red substance made for licking clean has a fascinating origin story. Like a superhero....but real.
According to Variety, Fox Searchlight and producer Devon Franklin will soon share the story of Richard Montañez, a janitor-turned-snack-connoisseur who now spends his days jet-setting around the globe as a motivational speaker. The doc will be called, appropriately, Flamin' Hot. Before you write this one off as an Emoji Movie or another questionable branded flick, Montañez’s story truly is one of those classic American tales that deserves a little extra shine.
Montañez is a first-generation Mexican-American, who started out picking grapes in Southern California as a migrant farm worker. He then took a job as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga.
In a nutshell, after getting his hands on a bad batch of cheese-less Cheetos from the plant, he then took them home where he eventually made a snack inspired by his heritage. The flavors first concocted were reminiscent of elotes—corn, mayonnaise, cheese, and chiles.
“I see the corn man adding butter, cheese, and chili to the corn and thought, what if I add chile to a Cheeto?” he told Inc. in 2016. He managed to get a meeting with the powers that be, bought his first tie, recruited a neighbor to help him tie it and, for better or worse, Flamin' Hot Cheetos were born. Of course, that’s the abridged version.
Not many snacks hold a place in heart of pop culture as much as this one (Google these keywords: Katy Perry Hot Cheeto). While the story is fascinating, and the food arguably delicious, if this doc doesn’t dig into the controversial elements that have made it a cult snack like the efforts to have it banned from high schools and the fact that is has reportedly been responsible for sending people to the ER, then please...keep it.