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A West Des Moines college student survived another set of "MasterChef" challenges to earn her way into the top five.

Samantha Daily, who is in her senior year at the University of Kentucky and lives in West Des Moines, won after facing a "Restaurant Takeover Challenge" at a Michelin star restaurant, overcoming a pressure test and surviving a mystery box challenge.

The winner of the cooking competition, which is judged by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsey and Aarón Sánchez and restaurateur Joe Bastianich, will earn the title of MasterChef and a $250,000 grand prize. 

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    This week, the top five home cooks face a series of pressure-filled skills tests using an incredibly common protein – beef. (Watch at 7 p.m. Thursday on Fox.)

    The judges will decide which contestant will be safe and who will face another culinary test. The two weakest home cooks will go head-to-head to claim the final spot in the top four, while the other will be cut. Then, the final four are split into two teams and will need to cook one entrée for the judges’ mentors — chefs Daniel Boulud, Jonathan Waxman and Lidia Bastianich.

    The judges will choose which winning team will move on, leaving the final two to battle it out in a do-or-die pressure test, which will send one contestant home and the other to the finale.

    Bookmark these frequently-updated metro dining guides for your next meal out:

    Daily, who auditioned in Nashville, said she has been cooking since she was 5, picking up tips from her mother, her stepdad and the internet. But when she got to college, she started teaching herself more advanced techniques.

    "Being in the 'MasterChef' kitchen is a dream come true," Daily said previously. "The kitchen is beautiful. It's an experience I will never forget. However, I don't think I have ever been so nervous in my life. The judges are a lot scarier in real life when it's your food they're tasting."

    Another Iowan, Matt Houck, 28, an optometrist from Iowa City also competed on the show earlier in the season.

    Become a contestant on MasterChef

    MasterChef is now casting for Season 10. The casting team is hitting the road to find America’s next MasterChef and for the first time ever, Ramsay's own culinary team will be joining the casting team.

    Home cooks who think they have what it takes to become the next MasterChef can pre-register by visiting MasterChefCasting.com. This year, auditions are being held in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Charleston and Minneapolis.

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