As much as people like things that are bright, shiny and new, humans are essentially fear-based creatures who cringe at change. Attracted are we to the new restaurant featuring cuisine from a region that you need a microscope to find on a map. Scared are we when word gets out that a restaurant that we've come to rely on like a favorite work-worn chamois shirt is making changes. Miss Dish is here to say that there is nothing to be frightened about.

True, she was shocked herself when she found out that Cathy Whims, the chef and co-owner of scene stalwart Genoa (2832 SE Belmont St., 238-1464), was leaving the little Italian eatery after more than a decade and half of service. Whims is selling her half of the place to partner Kerry DeBuse, a move, Whims tells Miss Dish, "I feel really good about." Why the breakup? She says, "We've been partners for a long time." As for her next step, she says, "I don't know yet, but it will involve travel." Whims, a talented, passionate chef who is very active on the culinary scene locally, says of her years at Genoa, "It's my favorite job I've ever had." Bets are strong that Whims, post-Genoa, will remain one of the more recognizable players in the local food world.

DeBuse, one of the original employees of the 31-year-old eatery, says that beyond some interior-design projects, little will change at Genoa post-Whims. As for their parting, DeBuse told Miss Dish, "We found we were going in different directions." Taking Whims' title of executive chef will be Jerry Huisinga, who DeBuse says has had a strong hand in producing the food at Genoa for some time. "There will be continuity," DeBuse says.

A previously planned bar and eatery modeled on those in Venice that was to be situated in the space next door to Genoa has been nixed, says DeBuse. The restaurant will be open on Sundays starting in a few weeks.

Change is inevitable. Healthy, even. If you just let it be.