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Is Flamin’ Scorching a True Tale?


FLAMIN' HOT, from left: Jesse Garcia Dennis Haysbert, 2023. ph: Anna Kooris /  Searchlight Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Hulu’s new comedy movie “Flamin’ Scorching” expenses itself as the tale at the back of the discovery of probably the most recognizable snacks on the planet: Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos. To start with look, it has the entire hallmarks of a “in accordance with a real tale” story: a unusual concept that results in an not going, made-for-the-movies upward thrust from obscurity and a charismatic and decided hero on the middle of all of it. If truth be told, regardless that, there may be much less fact to the film than chances are you’ll be expecting.

Who Is Richard Montañez?

“Flamin’ Scorching” is in accordance with a memoir, “A Boy, a Burrito and a Cookie: From Janitor to Government,” by way of Richard Montañez. Montañez grew up in a working-class Mexican-American circle of relatives in California, and he dropped out of faculty to paintings. He used to be in the end employed as a janitor at Frito-Lay, which is the place his tale supposedly in reality starts.

In his ebook, Montañez describes how an obvious device error led him to create an iconic snack. In line with his model of occasions, a device broke down within the Cheetos line, leading to a batch now not getting dusted with the signature orange tacky powder. Montañez writes that he took the “undeniable” Cheetos house and dusted them with chili powder as a substitute, impressed by way of a side road supplier in his group who offered Mexican side road corn with lime and chili powder.

When his family and friends appreciated the style of the brand new product, Montañez got down to pitch it to the CEO of Frito-Lay, Roger Enrico. Round that point, Enrico had despatched out a video “telling all staff he sought after them to take possession of the corporate,” in line with CNBC, and Montañez writes, “I known as him up, now not understanding you were not intended to name the CEO.” Securing a gathering, Montañez pitched the product, and the remaining used to be supposedly historical past. Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos was a phenomenon, and Montañez climbed the company ladder, in the end touchdown an government place at PepsiCo and construction a occupation as a speaker off of his rags-to-riches tale.

In 2018, Fox Searchlight introduced they’d be generating a film in accordance with his lifestyles tale. It gave the look of the American Dream.

Or, a minimum of, till a couple of years in the past.

Did Richard Montañez Invent Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos?

In 2021, the Los Angeles Instances revealed an investigative file that looked as if it would debunk Montañez’s claims.

“None of our information display that Richard used to be concerned about any capability within the Flamin’ Scorching take a look at marketplace,” Frito-Lay wrote in a remark to The Instances, revealed as a part of the in-depth investigation. “Now we have interviewed a couple of team of workers who have been concerned within the take a look at marketplace, and they all point out that Richard used to be now not concerned about any capability within the take a look at marketplace.. . . We price Richard’s many contributions to our corporate, particularly his insights into Hispanic customers, however we don’t credit score the advent of Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos or any Flamin’ Scorching merchandise to him.”

In line with the Instances article, Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos have been advanced in 1989 via a rather mundane procedure, born out of the want to compete with different manufacturers that presented highly spiced snacks. Montañez did get started on the corporate as a janitor, and he did pitch product concepts and in the end ascended to a director-level function in advertising, however an interior Frito-Lay investigation, in addition to the accounts of many related staff round the similar time, published that Montañez’s tale of inventing Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos used to be now not correct. Actually, the “highly spiced snacks” venture used to be first assigned to Lynne Greenfeld, a junior worker and new MBA grad who labored with a number of others to expand the goods.

When the inside track broke in 2021, smartly after the “Flamin’ Scorching” film used to be in manufacturing, the film’s inventive group insisted that it used to be nonetheless a tale value telling.

“Did Richard enhance a bit bit? Used to be his reminiscence inaccurate right here or there? Who is aware of,” screenwriter Lewis Colick advised Selection. “In truth the product.. . . I believe sufficient of the tale is correct. The center and soul and spirit of the tale is correct. He’s a man who will have to stay the face of Flamin’ Scorching Cheetos.”



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