BACK IN THEIR PARIS LABORATORY, Edwards and Marx are leading a team of chefs and scientists in creating the next whiffable fare: spearmint, tomato soup, and cheese. They’re also working on recipes for Le Whaf, a device Edwards and company are set to unveil next month, by which liquids are transformed into a "fine, stable, standing cloud that is beautiful and meditative and all that" to be ingested through a straw.
Why? No one’s quite sure, including Edwards, who seems happy to play the role of the nutty pseudo-Frenchman, inventing a novel product just because he can. Yet he is also convinced he’s got a legitimate business idea in Le Whif, and is determined to ride his chocolate cloud as high as it will float. "We’ve gone from ‘Isn’t this cool and interesting?’ to ‘Would you do this every day, and why?’" he says. "We want to move to a real commercial product."
Either that, or it will prove to be a cultural blip, the pet rock for the early 21st century. In his less entrepreneurial moments, Edwards is okay with that, too. It goes back to his original premise: The simple, silly thoughts—sometimes the sillier the better—are the ones that fuel innovation and, in their own way, change the world. "Le Whif is fun; it makes people laugh," he says. It allows users to enjoy the small pleasures in life. Maybe that’s enough.
Writer-at-large ALYSSA GIACOBBE reported last month on the starstruck town of Marshfield, where actor Steve Carell recently bought the general store.