Businessman Richard Montañez is making headlines after Frito-Lay disputed his story about creating the ‘Flamin’ Hot Cheetos’ flavor.
Montañez has went on record several times, stating he was just a janitor at the company when he invented and pitched the new product, allegedly inspired by Mexican street corn, and took Frito-Lay to new heights. Montañez went on to become an exec at parent company PepsiCo, a motivational speaker, and author. Plus, there’s an Eva Longoria-directed movie about his rise to glory coming to theaters soon. There’s just one issue, however, and that is: Frito Lay denies his involvement in the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
“None of our records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market. That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard, but the facts do not support the urban legend. We value Richard’s many contributions to our company, especially his insights into Hispanic consumers, but we do not credit the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or any Flamin’ Hot products to him,” Frito-Lay said in a statement provided to the L.A. Times.
Montañez has since responded, saying he hadn’t heard of Lynne Greenfield, the employee whom Frito-Lay claims developed the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos brand (and whom also went digging around about Montañez’s involvement).
“I was their greatest ambassador,” Montañez told Variety. “But I will say this, you’re going to love your company more than they will ever love you, keep that in perspective.”
“In that era, Frito-Lay had five divisions,” he went on. “I don’t know what the other parts of the country, the other divisions — I don’t know what they were doing. I’m not even going to try to dispute that lady, because I don’t know. All I can tell you is what I did. All I have is my history, what I did in my kitchen.”
“Nobody was telling me, ‘This is how executives work.’ I wasn’t a supervisor, I was the least of the least,” he explained. “I think that might be one of the reasons why they don’t have any documentation on me. Why would they?”
A low-level employee not receiving credit where credit’s due sounds about yt to us… but, chime in with your thoughts.