How a Frito-Lay janitor created one of America's most popular snacks

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — the spicy red version of the classic cheese-flavored snack — are something of a cultural phenomenon. A group of children rapping about them racked up more than 16 million views on YouTube. Pop star Katy Perry even dressed as a Flamin’ Hot for Halloween.

Although several schools banned them, saying they were unhealthy, the snacks enjoy the kind of high profile that research chefs and food scientists employed by big companies like Frito-Lay spend their careers chasing. But Flamin’ Hot Cheetos weren’t made by any experts.

They were invented by a janitor, the son of a Mexican immigrant who dropped out of school because he struggled with English.

His name is Richard Montañez, and Fox Searchlight Pictures is making a movie about his life.