Maybe it is too mean. My poetry/nonfiction class version goes like this. The students break into small groups with their writing and a ballot that lists the criteria for the writing. They vote in their small group for who the winner is. The winner goes into the ring of fire, also known as the vast expanse in the middle of the room when all the desks and chairs are in a circle. Then, they read. We vote. In the first poetry class, I had them vote by ballot and didn't have time to tabulate the winner. Last night, in nonfiction, I had them vote by raise of hands (making it seem, I hope, a little bit less official). But then when girl yelled out, this is hard and one student only got one vote (his group should have voted for him at least. They as a group seem disengaged).
I like the idea of competition because it makes them, in their small groups, not just be like "I love this. You're so great." And it makes them take the exercises seriously. But maybe the last Top Cheffery bit should go? If I had time, I would have the groups vote and then defend their decision, ala Tom Colicchio. That would be the best student-centered learning option but maybe overly complicated.
To Molly: I don't know about Stefan. I think I like him. I definitely like Fabio and the way that they both add a new edge to the Top Chef. Yes. I'm going to say Stefan rocks. Although he's no Jeffrey. Because blonds can cook! (and he's the best looking of the chefs, in any of the season.
To MaryAnne: No kidding. Isn't a list enough propulsion? I'm about to propel my food book over the cliff.