For many consumers, especially those with bold preferences, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos may come to mind when thinking of snack foods with irrational cult followings. And they are straightforward: They are unquestionably spicy, eminently crunchy, and their “dust” gives fingertips the prettiest shade of firetruck scarlet.

Many people might find it boastful when you finish a package of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Many people might not be conscious of the urban legend that gave rise to the peppery flavor of Frito-Lay’s well-known cheese curls, though.

According to one legend, the Flamin’ Hot seasoning blend was created by Richard Montaez, a Mexican-American janitor who worked at the Frito-Lay factory in Rancho Cucamonga, California. But did this genius ever receive the recognition he felt he was due from the business that created some of the most well-known companies in history? The mysterious story of Montaez is now being recounted through a cinematic medium. When “Flamin’ Hot” airs this year, everyone will soon be aware of what appears to be the reality.

Flamin’ Hot is set to release in June

Since they first appeared on store shelves more than 30 years ago, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have become nothing short of a pop culture sensation, but there is still some controversy surrounding their provenance. Richard Montaez, who has written books and spoken at conferences about the subject, asserts that he is the variety’s creator, but Frito-Lay refuted this claim in an interview with the Los Angeles Times in 2021. However, there are still some people who support Montaez today, including an actress-turned-filmmaker who ventured to speak out about his legacy.

Heaven knows we need more rags-to-riches biopics, but maybe “Flamin’ Hot” will dispel a persistent urban legend about food: Who actually created the outrageously flavorful, vibrant crimson coating? The movie had its world premiere on March 11 at the SXSW Film Festival under the direction of Eva Longoria (yes, you read that correctly!). The decision? Hot!

“Flamin’ Hot,” which stars Jesse Garcia (“Sons of Anarchy,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” and “Narcos: Mexico”) as Montañez, will be available to stream on Hulu beginning June 9, 2023, per TV Insider. Some moviegoers might prefer to forego the popcorn and load up on spicy snacks instead!


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