Hot Cheetos


Marisol Gonzalez, contributor

Richard Montanez is the inventor of Hot Cheetos. Montanez didn’t come from a rich family. Richard did attend some school but he was struggling with his English so he decided to drop out before getting his diploma.  One of the jobs he worked at was to pick grapes with his whole family. The 14 members of the Montanez family all shared a one-room cinder block house in a migrant labor camp. 

When Richard was 18 years old he was hired as a janitor at Frito-lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Montanez didn’t know how to read or write so the person that helped him fill out his application was his wife.

One day, after a machine broke Richard was able to take the plain Cheetos home. At home, he dusted the Cheetos with chili powder after all his family tasted the chips. Montanez told the former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico over the phone and he was given two weeks to prepare a presentation. The executives of the company were amazed by Montanez’s idea.

Montanez has become the executive vice president of multicultural sales and the community activation for PepsiCo’s North American division. A lot of people create so many types of snacks with hot Cheetos. 


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